Mum backs char­ity call

Ap­peal to help fam­i­lies with costs

West Lothian Courier - - News - Sean O’Neil

A West Loth­ian mum has backed a char­ity’s call for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to tackle the hefty price that par­ents of pre­ma­ture ba­bies are forced to pay while their child is in hos­pi­tal.

Coady Dor­man, from Brox­burn, said she strug­gled fi­nan­cially af­ter her son Matthew was born 11 weeks early.

Coady was first ad­mit­ted to St John’s Hos­pi­tal in Liv­ingston but was trans­ferred to Ed­in­burgh Royal In­fir­mary for an emer­gency Cae­sar­ian sec­tion.

Af­ter she was dis­charged, Coady was not al­lowed to drive be­cause she was re­cov­er­ing from her C-sec­tion. So she faced a two-hour jour­ney on pub­lic trans­port from her home in Brox­burn to visit Matthew.

Coady said: “Dur­ing the first week I had to rely on lifts from other peo­ple. I was grateful for the sup­port from my friends and fam­ily but I had to ar­range ev­ery­thing around their sched­ule rather than just go­ing to see Matthew when I re­ally wanted to. I wanted to be there all the time but that wasn’t an op­tion and that is why I ended up go­ing to the GP and ask­ing if I could get signed back on for driv­ing. Con­vinc­ing the GP that I was okay to drive made things eas­ier, but there’s some women that wouldn’t have that as an op­tion. For those who don’t drive at all it’s very hard. I know that when we were in ERI there was a mother I think from Pais­ley. Her lit­tle boy had been born very early and it wasn’t an op­tion for her to go back and for­wards to her home so she ended up hav­ing to stay in ho­tels and with fam­ily friends. I can only imag­ine how hard it was for her and I’m sure she’s not the only one.”

Re­search pub­lished by Bliss Scot­land has re­vealed that the av­er­age weekly cost of hav­ing a baby in neona­tal care is £218 across Scot­land. Al­most 80 per cent of par­ents said that hav­ing a baby in the neona­tal unit had wors­ened their fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, with a third of par­ents say­ing the cost had af­fected their abil­ity to be with their baby in hos­pi­tal.

Pro­fes­sor Steve Turner, Royal Col­lege of Pae­di­atrics and Child Health Of­fi­cer Scot­land, said: “Very poorly ba­bies in hos­pi­tal need their par­ents with them, and we know that par­ents want to be with their ba­bies. This is true re­gard­less of per­sonal wealth and this im­por­tant cam­paign high­lights the ex­tent of the fi­nan­cial bur­den less af­flu­ent fam­i­lies face when their ba­bies are hos­pi­talised. This is another ex­am­ple of chil­dren’s health be­ing neg­a­tively af­fected by in­equal­ity. Ur­gent at­ten­tion is needed to al­low all par­ents to spend more time with their ba­bies. In the wider con­text every­one needs to work to­wards re­duc­ing all of to­day’s health in­equal­i­ties in Scot­land.”

Min­is­ter for Pub­lic Health Aileen Camp­bell said: “Pre­ma­ture births can be a wor­ry­ing time for par­ents which is why we want to en­sure ev­ery woman and baby in Scot­land gets the best ma­ter­nity and neona­tal care. We are ex­am­in­ing the cur­rent pro­vi­sion from boards, and oth­ers, to fam­i­lies who have pre­ma­ture ba­bies in the care of the NHS to de­ter­mine how we can bet­ter sup­port them in fu­ture. This in­cludes en­sur­ing con­sis­tent sup­port wher­ever a fam­ily lives in Scot­land.”

Fundrais­ing Coady, with son Matthew, sup­ports Bliss

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