Report proves that parents of premature and sick babies face crippling costs
A report highlighting the financial burden to families whose baby is admitted to neonatal care has been published by Bliss the special care baby charity on Thursday 27 February 2014.
It’s not a game: the very real cost of having a premature or sick baby found that parents faced spiralling costs averaging over £280 per week. It discovered that almost two thirds of parents of babies admitted to neonatal care felt their mental health had worsened as a result of the financial burden. The report is based on a survey of over 1300 parents and 178 hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales.
The report identified that;
- Parents of a baby admitted to neonatal care face extra costs amounting to £2,256 during their baby’s stay in hospital, averaging £282 per week.
- Three quarters of parents reported that their household finances were worsened, while one in five couldn’t afford to pay bills such as their rent or mortgage.
- The average stay in neonatal care was eight weeks. However, one in four babies and families faced 12 or more weeks in hospital and five per cent faced a stay of over 20 weeks.
- Alongside the financial burden is the cost to parent’s health, with almost two thirds of parents reporting that their mental health had worsened as a result of the extra pressure.
- Welsh and Scottish hospitals offer free parking. In England 87 per cent of hospitals provide free parking for the parents of premature or sick babies. However, two thirds of parents reported that they paid for parking, as they were not told they could access it for free or at a reduced rate.
At Ronald McDonald House Charities we currently operate from 14 hospitals, but we have ambitions to expand our service. We believe family support, such as accommodation should be part of the provision of specialist children’s services and this Bliss report is proof that there is an ever increasing need for accommodation for parents in this situation.
“Whether parents receive the financial and emotional support they need when their premature or sick baby is in hospital should not be a game of chance. This is already an extremely stressful time for parents, but one thing they shouldn't have to worry about is whether they can afford to be there for their baby. Bliss wants to see better financial support for parents without delay.”
Andy Cole Former Bliss Chief Executive