Monday 17 October 2011

In Safe Hands - Neonatal Nursing Jobs at Risk

I've never shared any of Joseph's NICU videos on my blog. As much as I blog about premature babies, these videos seem so personal, so raw, and sometimes I feel a bit, well, almost embarrassed. I don't like to make a song and dance about where we have come from in our journey with Joseph. But I want to share this video today, as much as its about my husband and Joseph, it is about nursing in the NICU.

I am sharing this today because of this important story. It is very clear that this country is in recession. Cutbacks need to be made somewhere, and we all need to tighten our belts. But I, and Bliss, are concerned that this burden is falling on the youngest and tiniest of lives. The hands you see are those of a very experienced nurse. Not only did she perform life saving tasks for our baby, she helped us bond with Joseph and make the journey from frightened patients to strong and resilient parents.

I've always respected nurses, but Joseph's hospital stay highlighted to me just how vital nurses are. These nurses are capable of holding babies that weigh not even a bag of sugar. They put their lines in, they sort out their breathing, their feeding. Without these highly qualified, experienced and caring people, these babies would die. No question. These babies are so small, so dependent they need the very best of care.

Now in their election promises the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats focussed on the NHS, promising that no nursing jobs would be lost. However in real terms, hospitals are reducing the number of neonatal nurses through redundancy, natural attrition, and by downgrading nurses and replacing experienced, more expensive nurses with cheaper, less experienced ones.

There are people completing nursing degrees, specialising in neonatal nursing who are unemployed. This government has not kept its promise, and nursing jobs, in this vital area are not being created, if anything there are less jobs in neonatal nurses.

I would defy anyone to say that the money spent in neonatal care is not money well spent. That tiny baby, so small and frail, is a robust toddler, he's not cost the NHS any more money in toddler hood that any other baby, and there is every reason to believe he will be a productive tax-paying member of society. The vast majority of babies nursed in units will be the same, strong, healthy adults.

We owe it to these babies to give them the best possible start in life.

Chase up your MP today, ask him if he/she for their support. This easy letter format takes 2 minutes tops.  In the NHS the voice that shouts the loudest is listened to. Please join and support me in fighting for these tiny lives.


  1. Hi, I know there is a shortage of neonatal nurses - has been for several years - but is Bliss saying that neonatal nurses are being lost at a higher rate than others. I'm not disagreeing it's just not something I'd heard specifically ( I'm part of the North West London perinatal network and Bliss are often represented tat meetings) It's very worrying if that's the case. Glad your little boy is doing so well. My prem baby turns eight next month x

  2. To be honest, I am not sure, and I will ask that question on Thursday, I'm attending a meeting with them. This piece of work was just around neonatal nurses specifically. I would hazard a guess that all areas are being hit to be honest.