More support available to children in hospital in Scotland

Posted on July 26, 2021

Parents of premature and sick babies in Scotland who need hospital care once their neonatal treatment is over will continue to be supported throughout their hospital journey thanks to the extension of a Scottish Government fund.

Parents of premature and sick babies in Scotland who need hospital care once their neonatal treatment is over will continue to be supported throughout their hospital journey thanks to the extension of a Scottish Government fund.

Bliss Scotland was at the forefront of 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 we are delighted to see that this important package of support will now be included in the new Young Patients Family Fund.

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

Bliss Scotland Chief Executive, Caroline Lee-Davey, said: “We are thrilled that The Young Patients Family Fund is being launched today, meaning that any family in Scotland with a hospitalised child aged under 18 will be able to access funds to help offset the costs of travel, food and drink and accommodation.

“The new fund builds on the success of the Neonatal Expenses Fund, which Bliss Scotland, alongside Mark Griffin MSP and other partners, successfully campaigned for ahead of its launch in 2018. Over the last three years, the Neonatal Expenses Fund has supported thousands of families with premature and sick babies to be exactly where they need to be – by their baby’s side and playing a hands-on role in their care.

“We are delighted that this new fund will now mean that parents of premature and sick babies who need hospital care once their stay in neonatal care is over will continue to be supported to be with their baby for as much time as possible, throughout their hospital journey. It is also very positive that this support will be extended to families with older children and young people in hospital.

“We will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure the Fund meets the needs of families and will keep campaigning for the other UK nations to introduce similar support for families with a baby in neonatal care.”

Background

The Scottish Government committed to establishing a Young Patients Family Fund (YPFF) within the first 100 days of the current administration. Further information on the YPFF, and how to apply, can be found here.

The YPFF has merged with the existing Neonatal Expenses Fund (NEF) to create a single unified fund. The NEF was designed to help parents of premature and sick newborn babies to offset the cost of travelling to and from hospital during the early days of their baby’s life. The YPFF now covers children from birth to 18 who are receiving inpatient care, and will cover costs for their parents, anyone with parental responsibility, and siblings under 18.

Claims for travel costs associated with outpatient visits can still be made through the NHS Patient Travel Reimbursement Scheme. This scheme allows children up to the age of 16 (or up to 19 if in full-time education) to apply to have their own travel costs and those of an escort (such as parent/carer) covered when attending outpatient appointments.