Steve Brine MP met parents and Bliss staff at the special care baby charity's parliamentary event on Wednesday 9 November, where it launched its SOS campaign (Save our special care babies, Save our specialist nurses) and report on cuts to frontline care for babies born too soon, too small and too sick in England.
The event comes after Bliss found that one in every three units caring for premature and sick babies in England are making cuts to their nursing workforce through redundancies, freezing vacancies or downgrading nurses. Bliss released a report last year that found that 1,150 extra neonatal nurses were needed to provide care for premature and sick babies. Since then, almost 140 frontline nursing posts have been cut, putting vulnerable babies at risk.
Bliss wants all babies to receive the highest level of care delivered by the right number of specialist nursing staff as there is strong evidence to show that increasing the ratio of specialist nurses to babies in intensive care heightens their chance of survival and improves their long term health.
Parents shared their experiences of having a baby in neonatal care and Bliss staff highlighted their concerns that the 70,000 babies admitted into neonatal care each year will not receive the best care if cuts continue to be made to nurses caring for England's sickest babies.
Steve said: "One in nine babies across Winchester & Chandler's Ford are admitted to specialist hospital care each year. Babies have the same right to care as everyone else, yet Bliss' report shows that our most vulnerable babies are not always getting the care they need.
"I am delighted to support Bliss' SOS campaign to ensure all babies born premature and sick get the care they need to give them the best possible start in life."
Bliss Campaigns and Policy Manager Helen Kirrane added: "We are really grateful to Steve Brine for supporting the launch of our SOS campaign and report launch. Bliss is urging the Government and individual hospital trusts to stop making short sighted cuts to frontline nurses. We also want the Health Secretary to commit to improving outcomes for these vulnerable babies making this a priority issue in the guidance he gives to the NHS."
Pictured; Parents and children supporting the SoS campaign launch