Improve care for Scottish babies

Baby covered in multi-coloured wool blanket while being tube fed

Bliss Scotland research shows services are lacking the nurses and doctors needed to meet vital benchmarks for high-quality care.

Our report chimes with some of the findings in the recently released The Best start: A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care in Scotland. This review into neonatal services provides lots of recommendations to transform services of the future - including embedding family-centred care right at the heart of neonatal services.

There were times when there weren't the required amount of nurses in intensive care. You often overheard staff saying how they were struggling would be short staffed the next day

Mother of baby born at 28 weeks

Nurses and doctors caring for our most vulnerable babies do an incredible job but are often stretched too thin. The Bliss Scotland baby report 2017: An opportunity to deliver improvements in neonatal care shows that units across the country do not have enough nurses, doctors or allied professional staff.

The recent Government review shows that there is a real appetite for change and transformation, but we're concerned that they haven't considered fully enough the gaps that exist right now - and the significant funding, planning and processes it's going to take to implement the recommendations.

Read our report in full.

What we want

It is excellent that there is a real appetite to improve neonatal services in Scotland, but Bliss Scotland’s findings coupled with the lack of detail in the Scottish Government’s review concerning additional resources and investment mean this golden opportunity could be wasted.

We want Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison, to commit to:

  • Provide immediate investment to address the current staffing gaps among nurses, doctors and other professionals.
  • Ensure sufficient funding is provided for the full implementation of ‘The Best Start’s’ core recommendations for neonatal services.
  • Consult on, produce and publish a robust implementation plan which details funding allocations, key milestones and outcome indicators to ensure progress is realistic and measurable.
  • Ensure parents of premature and sick babies are consulted at every opportunity throughout this process.