Bliss policy manager wins BAPM award

Josie Anderson

We are delighted that the incredible efforts of our Policy, Research and Campaigns Manager, Josie Anderson, have been recognised with a BAPM Gopi Menon Award.

Josie was announced as the winner in the ‘Making a difference for families’ category earlier this month at BAPM Gopi Menon Awards.

Josie has worked at Bliss, the UK’s leading charity for babies born premature or sick, since 2014. She was commended by BAPM for devising and leading Bliss’ groundbreaking ‘Parents Aren’t Visitors’ campaign, set up in April 2020 in response to the introduction of COVID-19 access restrictions for parents with a baby in neonatal care.

Before the pandemic parents typically had unrestricted access to their baby 24 hours a day, with neonatal units encouraging full participation in care-giving. But following the arrival of the pandemic, parental access at many units was heavily restricted, significantly affecting family-centred care.

Caroline Lee Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss, said: “We are delighted that Josie’s incredible campaigning efforts have been recognised at this year’s BAPM Gopi Menon Awards.

“When it became clear early in the pandemic that access restrictions on neonatal units would have a devastating impact on families, Josie sprang into action writing Bliss’ first position statement on COVID-19 parental access and then working with national health bodies to influence wider guidance.

“Josie prioritised capturing parents’ views’ directly and centred their voices in our policy and media work, helping to generate widespread national media coverage for our Parents Aren’t Visitors campaign in the Guardian, Mail on Sunday and across BBC and commercial broadcast outlets.

“She also was able to swiftly mobilise our large base of supporters and the wider public with over 5,000 people signing an online petition to endorse the campaign.

“Josie’s intensive work across all four UK nations resulted in the Scottish Government updating its guidance on parental access early on in the pandemic, and updated NHS England guidance being published in December 2020 which explicitly stated that parents should not be considered visitors.

“Whilst our campaign was a tremendous team effort, Josie led from the front and through her tireless dedication and unrelenting focus, has helped improve parental access at neonatal units across the country, resulting in better family-centred care for babies.”

Josie Anderson, Policy, Research and Campaigns Manager at Bliss, added: “I am beyond thrilled and surprised to have received this award. The impact of COVID-19 has been enormous and championing the importance of parent presence on neonatal units has been the most important campaign I’ve ever worked on. This campaign has only been a success due to the hard work and campaigning of dedicated neonatal staff, parents and my colleagues. Mostly, I am delighted that – while there is still work to do - many more thousands of parents are able to be by their baby’s side whenever they need, and want, to be.’’