Fund gives £1.5m aid to par­ents of sick ba­bies

The Herald - - NEWS -

A £1.5 MIL­LION fund is be­ing launched to help the par­ents of pre­ma­ture and sick new­born ba­bies cope with the ex­tra costs that come with their child be­ing in hospi­tal.

The Neona­tal Ex­penses Fund will be avail­able from to­mor­row to all par­ents whose ba­bies are re­ceiv­ing care in a neona­tal unit, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment said.

The cash pot will help more than 8,000 fam­i­lies a year with trav­el­ling, park­ing and sub­sis­tence costs, min­is­ters es­ti­mate.

Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son said: “Hav­ing a pre­ma­ture or sick baby is a hugely test­ing and emo­tional time for par­ents.

“We want to en­sure they are sup­ported and in­volved as pos­si­ble in de­ci­sion­mak­ing around their baby’s care, and have more op­por­tu­ni­ties to bond as a fam­ily in these early days.

“For some par­ents, get­ting to and from the hospi­tal ev­ery day can be a big ad­di­tional ex­pense and this is where the Neona­tal Ex­penses Fund can help.

“Eas­ing the pres­sure of be­ing able to af­ford to get to your baby will, I hope, be one less thing for par­ents in this sit­u­a­tion to worry about.”

One in eight ba­bies born in the UK each year is ad­mit­ted to a neona­tal unit.

Fam­i­lies will be able to claim for the travel costs of one re­turn jour­ney, park­ing and up to £8.50 in sub­sis­tence costs each day for the du­ra­tion of their baby’s stay in a unit.

Pro­fes­sor Ben Sten­son, clin­i­cal lead of neo-natal ser­vices at NHS Loth­ian, said: “It can be a chal­leng­ing and emo­tional time for par­ents and one that very of­ten they could not have fore­seen.”

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