Child and Maternal Health
Cabinet Secretary announces £1.5 million Family Fund to help meet costs
Parents of premature babies in NHS care will now be able to get extra support with the financial cost.
Through the Scottish Government’s 2018/19 draft budget the new £1.5 million Family Fund will be available from the 1st of April for parents of premature babies to help with the additional costs they face, such as for travel to and from hospital or food and drink.
Around 4,400 babies are born prematurely (under 36 weeks) every year in Scotland and estimates show the average additional cost to parents is over £200 a week. The Best Start: A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care in Scotland which was published in early 2017 makes a number of recommendations to support parents with babies in a neonatal unit. One of these recommendations is to undertake an urgent review of the approach to expenses for families of babies in neonatal care to develop a nationally agreed policy. The announcement made by the Cabinet Secretary will allow this recommendation to be implemented.
During a visit to the neonatal unit at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee on 22 December, Health Secretary Shona Robison said:
“Becoming a parent should be the best feeling in the world, but if a baby is born prematurely and needs neonatal care it’s an anxious time.
“We also know that it can be expensive, so we have looked at the support available to parents.
“All Health Boards already offer accommodation when it is most needed and we are working with Boards to ensure that there is sufficient, free accommodation for all parents when required.
“This new national Family Fund of at least £1.5 million will be available to parents regardless of income to ease money worries at a very difficult time.”
Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss Scotland, said:
“We warmly welcome this announcement of much-needed financial support for families across Scotland with a baby in neonatal care.
“This fund will help more parents to be with their baby for as much time as possible and to play a hands-on role in their babies’ care, which we know is best for babies and families.
“Bliss Scotland looks forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government in 2018 to ensure the fund works in the best way for families, as well as on the delivery of the other neonatal recommendations in Best Start.”