Campaign successes

Coady Dorman And Shona Robison Msp

Together with families of babies born premature and sick and our supporters, we have achieved real change. Here are some examples of our achievements.

Securing additional resources for neonatal services in Wales

  • Following our 2016 campaign action calling for more children’s nurses to be trained in order to build the neonatal workforce needed for the future, the Welsh Government announced an increase from 100 training places in 2016, to 140 in 2017 and 180 in 2018.
  • Also in Wales, less than a week after our Bliss baby report was published, the First Minister announced his expectation that neonatal services would be properly staffed in line with national standards by 2021. Bliss welcomes this commitment and clear timescale to meet the standards of care to give babies the best chance in life.

Securing better support for parents whose babies are in hospital in Scotland

  • Shortly after the launch of Bliss Scotland’s Families kept apart campaign in November 2017, calling for additional financial support and facilities for parents of babies in neonatal care, the Scottish Government announced a new £1.5m p.a. to help parents with the additional costs they face when travelling to be with their premature or sick baby in hospital.
  • Bliss Scotland was also closely involved in the development of The Best Start: A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care in Scotland. This involvement helped secure the review’s core focus on the need for services to be centred around the family, so that parents of even the sickest babies are supported and enabled to play a major role in their care.

Driving national action to improve care for premature and sick babies in England

  • Bliss’ 2015 report on neonatal services in England has been a key driver in NHS England’s decision to undertake a national neonatal review, which is being taken forward by the neonatal Critical Care Clinical Reference Group and to look at the safety and sustainability of services. Bliss has also been asked to play a key role in this review.
  • Following past Bliss campaigns highlighting the shortage of specialist neonatal nurses, the Government committed to collecting and publishing statistics on neonatal nurses for the first time in 2013, and locally NHS Trusts told us about changes they were making to train more nurses in the future.
  • And after the publication of the Coalition Government's plans to reform the NHS in 2012 we successfully campaigned for all three levels of neonatal care (special care, high dependency and intensive care) to be commissioned as one specialist service, helping to ensure greater consistency, and more joined- up care for babies and families wherever their neonatal journey starts, and wherever it takes them.

Tackling the financial barriers that prevent parents from being at their baby’s side in hospital

  • Bliss has long campaigned to remove the financial and practical obstacles that prevent parents from being at their baby’s cot-side as much as they can be. Our campaigning work for improvements in parental leave for people who have a premature or sick baby has secured a Government commitment to review how their policy on parental leave is working for parents whose babies are admitted to neonatal care. 
  • In addition, the Government commissioned ACAS guidance for employers to improve the support parents receive from their workplaces after having a premature of sick child. 
  • Our campaigning for free hospital parking for parents of babies on the neonatal unit also contributed to Government guidance being released to NHS Trusts saying that hospitals should be offering free or reduced parking to anyone visiting a long-term or very ill patient. 
  • Bliss also played a key role in ensuring that national neonatal standards in England, Wales and Scotland each outline the need for services to include overnight accommodation to that families can stay close to their critically ill baby, as well as food and drink making facilities and other practical and financial measures to help families.

Flexibility in starting school