REDDITCH MP Karen Lumley MP recently attended a campaign event in Parliment organised by Bliss, which provides support to families of babies born premature and sick across the UK.

The campaign has been launched with the release of their report called ‘It’s not a game: the very real costs of having a premature or sick baby’, which is based on a survey of over 1,300 parents and 178 hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales.

The report found 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.

Costs such as paying for food and drinks averaged £53 a week, while parents faced travel costs including petrol and parking averaging over £100 per week.

Three quarters of parents reported their household finances worsened, while one in five couldn’t afford to pay bills such as their rent or mortgage.

Almost two thirds of parents also reporting that their mental health worsened as a result of the extra pressure.

Bliss wants more to be done to help families who face these issues and wants parents travelling more than 20 miles to see their baby in hospital to have their costs reimbursed. Bliss also believes they should have access to free parking and accommodation so they can be near their baby, as well as meals provided and access to childcare at the hospital.

Mrs Lumley said: “One in nine babies in Worcestershire is admitted to specialist hospital care each year. I am delighted to support Bliss to ensure all babies born premature and sick and their families get the vital support they need."