MP and Canning Town mum meet Andrew Lansley

West Ham MP Lyn Brown has held a meeting with Health Minister Andrew Lansley to stop cuts to neonatal nursing posts.

She was joined by Canning Town mum Vicki Gray as well as representatives from Bliss the special care baby charity and parents of premature babies.

They discussed what action can be taken to stop the cuts being made to neonatal nurse posts across the country and secure effective running of neonatal services before the Health and Social Care Bill completes its passage through Parliament.

Vicki, whose son Kieron was born at 24 weeks, weighing 740g at Newham General Hospital, first raised her concerns about pressures facing neonatal care to Lyn Brown MP following the launch of Bliss’ SOS campaign in November 2011, and the meeting is an important milestone in Bliss’ campaign. The campaign highlights cuts being made to frontline nursing staff caring for premature and sick babies, putting their lives at risk.

Vicki knows too well the pressures faced by staff providing the vital care to these tiny babies. Kieron was transferred to Royal London as Newham didn’t have the facilities required for babies born less than 28 weeks. Vicki was left at Newham while Kieron spent seven weeks there before he was transferred back to Newham.

Vicki said: “Due to Kieron’s early start, he was found to have problems with his heart and lungs and needed constant attention from frontline specialist nurses. These nurses, despite working long and demanding shifts, facing staff shortages and being stretched to their limits, continued to provide around the clock care.

“Without those dedicated people, Kieron wouldn’t be where he is now. The government should be investing in neonatal care and providing more frontline nurses, so that babies like Kieron have the best possible chance to survive. The Bliss SOS report highlights the issues surrounding the governments cost cutting actions, ie, frontline nursing jobs and how that will impact neonatal care.”

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Bliss has asked Andrew Lansley MP for a commitment that clear guidance is sent to the local NHS bodies, stating that neonatal nursing posts must not be affected by short sighted cost saving measures.