Letchworth mum lobbies MP over baby care

A MOTHER whose daughter was born 12 weeks early has lobbied her MP over the future hospital care of vulnerable babies.

Natasja Jones, of Hillbrow in Letchworth GC, met with North East Hertfordshire MP Oliver Heald to raise her concerns about the future of neonatal care while NHS reforms take place.

Natasja, whose daughter Maya weighed 2lb 5oz when she was born in 2009, presented Mr Heald with special care baby charity Bliss’ 2010 Baby Report which highlights issues such as neonatal staff shortages and long distance transfers in England.

The 32-year-old also asked Mr Heald to write a letter to health secretary Andrew Lansley to ask him to ensure that funding to this area would not be disrupted.

“I am grateful to Oliver Heald for the time he gave to listen to me,” said Natasja.

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“We discussed my concerns on the uncertain future of the current neonatal network system, set up on Department of Health recommendations in 2003, and how vulnerable babies could be put at risk if they have to be transferred longer distances. In such a volatile economic climate we need to speak up for premature and sick babies who can’t speak up for themselves.”

Mr Heald said: “I was delighted to meet Natasja at my surgery and to hear the work which Bliss does for babies born too soon, too small, too sick.

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“I have written to secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley, asking for the assurances that neonatal networks will be secured during the transition into the new NHS arrangements.

“I know that Andrew is very keen that the clinical networks should be retained and I look forward to hearing his response. It was heartwarming to hear Natasja’s own story with her child and it was good that it had such a happy ending.”

Bliss campaigns and policy manager Helen Kirrane added: “We are really grateful to have the support of Natasja to help raise awareness of the issues at a local level.

“Around 80,000 babies are born each year in the UK needing specialist hospital care and we want to ensure they receive the care they need and deserve.”

For more information about Bliss visit www.bliss.org.uk

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