Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said cost should not be a barrier to parents of premature or sick babies attending hospital.
Speaking after attending the launch of a Tiny Life report on the costs associated with premature or sick babies, the chair of the Assembly health committee said; “Many people do not fully appreciate or understand the implications of caring for a premature or sick baby, despite the fact that around 1,900 babies are born premature or sick each year.
“As well as dealing with the tremendous emotional strain and worry of caring for a sick baby, parents also have to cope with the financial burden that brings.
“This report shows that 43 per cent of parents of premature or sick babies said their ability to visit their child in hospital was impacted on due to travel costs.
“This is a critical time in a baby’s care and cost should not be a barrier to parents being on hand.
“Parents also need to be provided with information and assistance at this difficult time and it is clear that not all parents feel they have received that support.
“I am calling on all health trusts and hospitals to consider the findings of this report and act on its recommendations.”