Washington and Sunderland MP calls for more help for parents of premature or ill babies

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MP Sharon Hodgson has helped launch a new report highlighting the growing costs facing parents with premature or sick babies.

The Washington and Sunderland West MP spoke out at the launch of It’s Not A Game: the very real costs of having a premature or sick baby, which found that the average cost had now topped £2,250.

The survey, produced by special care baby charity Bliss, involved more than 1,300 parents and 178 hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales.

Parents of a baby admitted to neonatal care face extra costs amounting to £2,256 during their tot’s stay in hospital, averaging £282 per week.

Costs such as paying for food and drinks averaged £53 a week, while parents faced travel costs, including petrol and parking averaging more than £100 per week.

“One in nine babies are admitted to specialist hospital care each year, so these extra financial pressures are affecting a significant number of new parents,” said Mrs Hodgson. “It is absolutely right that we do whatever we can to provide those families with practical and emotional support.” The report showed one in five parents could not afford to pay bills such as their rent or mortgage.