More support available for families on neonatal units in Scotland

Posted on April 01, 2020

Bliss is delighted with the revisions to the Scottish Neonatal Expense Fund which come into force today.

Bliss was involved in the campaign for the £1.5 million Scottish Neonatal Expense Fund, which was introduced in 2018 to help offset the costs of visiting a baby in neonatal care, and has actively been involved in its evaluation and in influencing its new terms and conditions. As of today:

  • Both parents/guardians receive £8.50 for food each day, rather than having to show receipts for expenditure to be reimbursed
  • Both parents/guardians of a child are entitled to claim travel expenses when they are both travelling to hospital on the same day
  • The fund can now be used to support the costs of overnight accommodation if the Local Health Board is unable to provide this
  • Parents/ guardians are entitled to claim from the fund if their baby is moved out of the neonatal unit and into another ward for ongoing treatment.

It was a weight off our minds when our daughter was critically ill and it allowed us to concentrate on being with her

Previous research by Bliss Scotland found that the average cost of having a baby in neonatal care was £218 per week and that 79 per cent of Scottish parents said they were financially worse off after their baby’s stay on a neonatal unit.

The main causes for this additional financial strain on families were having to pay for expensive hospital food, overnight accommodation to stay close to their baby, travel costs and loss of earnings. So, alongside neonatal leave and pay, which was announced in the UK Budget earlier this month, the Neonatal Expense Fund goes a long way to reduce the financial burden on families in Scotland.

I would have paid anything to be able to be with my baby but knowing I could claim some of it back took a lot of stress off me during the most difficult time of my life

Caroline Lee Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss Scotland said, “We know that the Neonatal Expenses Fund has already made a huge difference to the lives of many families with babies in neonatal care across Scotland, and these improvements will help even more.

"The Fund is vital not only because it eases some of family's financial concerns at this difficult time, but also because in doing so it enables parents to be as involved as they can be in their baby’s care. We know that this hands-on involvement of parents in their babies' care is best for babies and best for parents - and this practical support makes that possible.

"We are delighted to have played a part in the introduction of the Neonatal Expense Fund and to have influenced these improvements, and we will continue to campaign for similar support in the other countries within the United Kingdom so that all parents with babies in neonatal care can access this valuable help”.