Mum backs charity call
Appeal to help families with costs
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