Bliss responds to NHS anniversary rally

Posted on June 30, 2018

On 30 June, thousands of demonstrators gathered in London to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS and to show support for a free, properly funded and sufficiently staffed health service in the UK.

Bliss lends its support to the fantastic NHS staff who work round the clock to ensure all of us – including the 95,000 babies born needing neonatal care across the UK each year – receive the best possible care.

However, our research has shown that these wonderful members of staff are being stretched beyond capacity and the Government must urgently invest in neonatal services to ensure every baby gets the high-quality care they need.

Over the last three years, our reports have found:

England [1]
  • 64 per cent of neonatal units do not have enough nurses to meet national standards on safe staffing levels, and two thirds of units do not have enough specialist nurses
  • Two thirds of units do not have the medical staff they need to meet national standards
  • Insufficient funding accounts for three quarters of nursing shortfalls at neonatal units, demonstrating an urgent need for investment in neonatal services
Wales [2]
  • Eight out of 10 neonatal units do not have enough nurses to staff all their cots
  • Only half of units have enough medical staff to meet standards
  • Half of the nursing shortfall at neonatal units is due to insufficient funding
Scotland [3]
  • Two thirds of units do not have enough medical staff to meet standards
  • Ten out of 11 units find it challenging to ensure their nurses receive the training they need
  • 82 per cent of nursing shortfall at neonatal units is due to insufficient funding
Northern Ireland [4]
  • Over half of neonatal units do not have enough nurses in post to meet minimum standards of care
  • 55 per cent of the nursing shortfall at neonatal units is due to insufficient funding
  • Four out of seven units regularly have to close their cots because of staff shortages

Chief Executive Caroline Lee-Davey said: “The 70th anniversary of the NHS is a fantastic opportunity for us to thank the neonatal staff who work tirelessly to ensure that every baby born premature or sick receives the best possible start in life. However, it is essential that the Government invests in this critical area of healthcare to ensure that the one in eight babies admitted to neonatal care continue to receive the high quality care they deserve.

“Last week, the Government pledged to make £20 billion of investment in NHS services. While we welcome the Prime Minister’s focus on addressing staffing pressures, it is vital that investment is directed across all parts of the NHS responsible for developing and training the workforce – including neonatal services.”

Bliss will continue to campaign for investment and improvements to make sure the most vulnerable babies across the UK receive the care they need. But we need the Government to act. Join us in calling on the Government and NHS to take account of neonatal services in their long-term plan.

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