GOVERNMENT POLICY CHANGES
NATIONAL NEONATAL TRANSPORT SERVICE
The National Neonatal Transport Service is a rapid response service for the transport and stabilization of premature/ill neonates who require transfer to a tertiary centre for intensive specialized care. The aim of the programme is to bring to the point of retrieval a level of care akin to that of a neonatal tertiary centre. The first patient was transported in March 2001 and the service operated from 9am to 5 pm Monday- Friday.
The Irish benchmarking report “Positive Steps for Prematurity” in 2011, recommended that the neonatal transport service be extended to a 24 hour service.
The Neonatal Clinical Lead, Prof. John Murphy, National Maternity Hospital, the Neonatal Nurse Clinical Lead, Hilda Wall, National Maternity Hospital and Patient Representative, Mandy Daly (INHA) appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Health and Children in November 2012 to seek additional government funding to support the extension to the service. A 10 minute short film was produced by Mandy Daly with the financial assistance of an industry partner to support the campaign.
In December 2013 the National Neonatal Transport Programme extended the service to operate 24 hours a day Monday to Friday. A patient information leaflet was published in conjunction with the launch of the service.
Currently the INHA are working with the relevant stakeholders to implement a Retro-Transport Service which will see infants repatriated back to a hospital close to where their family live following treatment at a tertiary unit.
The following short film was made by the INHA for World Prematurity Day 2014 to highlight the need for the Retro-Transport Service.
You can download a patient information leaflet by CLICKING HERE or on the image above.
Maternity Leave for Parents of Premature Babies
In December 2016, the INHA launched an online petition calling on the Irish government to review the law on maternity leave for parents of infants in the NICU. The petition gathered in excess of 55000 signatures and the INHA presented the petition and an accompanying report to government officials in April 2017.
In October 2017 the Irish government changed the Maternity Leave legislation. Under the new arrangements, in addition to the current 26 weeks of paid maternity leave a mother will be entitled to an additional period of paid maternity leave. The additional period will commence at the end of the standard 26 week period of paid maternity leave. The additional period to be added will be the number of weeks from the baby’s actual date of birth up to two weeks before the expected date of confinement which would have been the 37th week of the pregnancy, at which point the current entitlement to 26 weeks leave and benefit would normally begin.
So, for example where a baby is born in the 30th week of gestation the mother would have an additional entitlement of approximately 7 weeks of maternity leave and benefit i.e. from the date of birth in the 30th week to the two weeks before the expected date of confinement. This additional period will be added to the mother’s normal entitlement to 26 weeks of maternity leave and benefit.