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.
Baby Loss Advocacy Work
Oireachtas briefing paper
Baby loss is not an uncommon occurrence . The latest figures available show that in Ireland 381 babies died. Stillbirths accounted for 235, early neonatal death accounted for 111 and late neonatal deaths accounted for 35.
Click here to read our Oireachtas briefing paper which outlines our key asks in relation to baby loss in Ireland.
We need your help
One of our key campaigns in 2021 is to highlight the importance of waiving the fee for a burial plot where a baby will be buried and the introduction of a Children’s Burial Fund. Find out more below about how you can help us achieve this goal.
The campaign: The cost of baby loss
The death of a baby is something that parents are often emotionally and financially unprepared for. Many bereaved parents rely on the generosity of friends and family or take out a bank loan to pay for their baby’s burial or cremation and funeral. In the darkest moment of a bereaved parent’s life, they should not have to endure the financial burden of meeting funeral costs.
The INHA would like to commend Kildare County Council for introducing a policy to waiver the fee for a single burial plot where a baby under 18 months old will be buried. If parents choose to purchase a family plot for their baby, the plot fee will be equally reduced. Alternatively, if parents choose to bury their baby in an “angels” plot, the council will also waive the fee.
- The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage must instruct all local authorities to introduce the same policy as Kildare County Council as a best practice standard.
- The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage must instruct all local authorities to waive the fees for planning permission for headstones, where a baby will be buried.
- A Children’s Burial Fund should be established by the Department of Social Protection so that local authorities can claim back the cost of waiving the fee for a burial plot where a baby will be buried.
How you can help
Below is a letter template outlining the importance of waiving the fee for the burial plot where a baby will be buried and the introduction of a Children’s Burial Fund. You can send this letter directly to your local councillor.
If you have any queries please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions made to the public consultation process
We make submissions to various public consultations, lobbying for the needs of bereaved parents.
Recent consultations we have responded to include:
- Review of the Quality Framework for Mental Health Services in Ireland
- Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Public Consultation on the Development of a National Model of Parenting Support Services
- The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment public consultation on the introduction of a Statutory Sick Pay scheme. Click here to read the Statutory Sick Pay Submission
INHA Pre-budget submission
The INHA has issued its Pre-Budget 2022 Submission to Government. Our asks of the Government include:
- Funding for unlimited access to breast pumps for all mothers with an infant in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,
- Availability of dedicated allied healthcare professionals to Neonatal Intensive Care Units for premature and sick babies
- Provision of emotional supports in hospital and the community to parents whose baby has died and to parents who experience pre-term birth
- Waiving the fee for a burial plot where a baby will be buried and the introduction of a Children’s Burial Fund,
- Changes to Maternity and Paternity Benefit so that if a baby is born showing no signs of life and has a birthweight of less than 500g and a gestational age at delivery less than 24 weeks, the baby’s parents are entitled to paid leave from their employment.