This week The Smallest Things has welcomed the news that a second NHS Trust has pledged to sign our Employer with Heart charter, extending paid leave for staff whose babies are born premature.
Leading the way in the West Midlands, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals chief nurse, Paula Gardner, said “We are pleased to become the first Trust in the West Midlands to offer this commitment to parents. Our staff are dedicated to their jobs and work hard to ensure their patients receive high quality care, so we believe that we should return that sentiment by looking after them when they need our help in their personal lives. By signing up to this charter, it means that we will be able to help new mums and dads who are facing a difficult and worrying time after experiencing premature labour.”
One in eight babies are born prematurely and for mothers their maternity leave begins the very next day, weeks and often months before brining their baby home from hospital. The Smallest Things are working with other NHS Trusts and hope that more hospitals will continue to follow the lead of Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals.
Welcoming the news Catriona Ogilvy, founder and chair of The Smallest Things charity, said “We are delighted that Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust has recognised the unique needs of families of premature babies and is signing up to our Employer with Heart charter.”
“Giving birth prematurely and spending time on a neonatal unit for weeks, sometimes months, is terrifying and traumatic for parents. The last thing they should be worrying about is work and whether they can afford to spend time at the incubator or cot of their fragile baby. We know that the journey often doesn’t end when a premature baby is allowed to go home either. This extra time will go some way to supporting parents’ mental health, the baby’s medical needs and ultimately aid a smoother transition back to work when the time comes.”
More information about The Smallest Things Employer with Heart charter and how to implement this at your place of work can be found here.
While you’re here – more than 229,000 people have signed our petition calling upon the Government to extend paid parental leave for all families whose babies are born premature. Will you sign and add your name? SIGN NOW!