Parents of premature babies 'need financial support'

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image source, Family photo
image captionCaio Cymru was born 10 weeks prematurely in 2016

Parents with premature babies should be given special financial support to help cover the costs of having a baby early, a charity has said.

The premature and sick baby charity Bliss says research shows parents spend an average extra of £2,256 whilst their baby is in hospital.

It is calling on the Welsh Government to set up a special fund to help families with their living costs during this period.

Scotland already has such a fund.

Kim Williams, whose third child was born 10 weeks prematurely, says it would help reduce the burden on parents with premature babies.

"We had enough to worry about as it was," the mother of four from Pwllhelli said.

The Welsh Government says its Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme provides financial assistance for people to access the care that they need.

"Eligibility to the scheme is linked to people on qualifying benefits or registered under the Low Income Scheme," a spokesperson said.

Over 2,700 babies are born in Wales each year needing specialist neonatal care, Bliss said.

image captionKim Williams and Caio, who is now two years old

Ms Williams spent seven weeks in hospital with her Caio after a scan found he was no longer growing and doctors delivered him early.

He weighed two pounds 13 ounces.

Her partner, Iwan, is self employed in the building industry and found it hard to take time off to care for Caio and the rest of the family.

"He tried to come up and tried to bring his older brother and sister as much as he could," she said.

But with the price of petrol going up and "everything else still going on in life", financially it was a strain, she said.

"At the beginning, it would have been nice to have a little help financially. We wouldn't have had that burden."

The UK Government, which is responsible for parental leave in Wales too, said it was undertaking a short review of provisions for parents of premature babies which it expects to conclude next year.

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