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Parents need to be kept informed and included in decision-making

By Alison McNulty

There are seven babies born too soon, too small or too sick in Northern Ireland every day and they will all spend time in a neonatal unit.

Like the Brown family, occasions arise whereby the mother needs to be transferred to another hospital to deliver her baby, or babies are transferred after delivery. There are many reasons why this can happen. Sometimes the local neonatal unit is full and the nearest unit who have incubators can be far from the mother's home.

The decision to transfer the mother or even just the baby is not taken lightly and usually every consideration is made before the decision is made.

As with Mrs Brown, often a mother is not told that there is a possibility that she may deliver her baby early and be transferred to another unit.

Staff do not want to unduly worry a pregnant mother and cause additional unnecessary stress.

Parents need to be kept fully informed and included in the decisions and care of their babies and we know that this can be more difficult if parents are unable to visit the unit every day. The situation that the Brown family are currently going through is faced by many parents each week and as Chief Executive I have been raising all of the concerns and issues that our parents have with the Neonatal Network for Northern Ireland.

If parents need support both in the Neonatal Unit or when they return home please contact 02890815050 or info@tinylife.org.uk.

Alison McNulty is Chief Executive of TinyLife

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