15 April 2020
Tommy’s and other charities working to support parents and families and to save babies’ lives during the COVID-19 outbreak are warning that their vital services will soon cease to exist without urgent financial support from the Government.
Without financial support there is a high likelihood that charities will be forced to cut services to around a million expectant mothers, new families and people affected by pregnancy and baby loss. These cuts will come at a time of unprecedented demand, with more than two thirds of those same charities expecting demand for their services to increase dramatically in the coming months.
The Pregnancy and Baby Charities Network is now calling on Government and NHS England to ensure that its members benefit from the £750m package announced by the Chancellor last week to keep struggling charities afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 outbreak is affecting families across the UK who need the support of pregnancy and baby charities more than ever, due to increased isolation and fear and the unprecedented pressure on the NHS, which needs to focus on caring for those suffering from the effects of coronavirus.
The Government money would make a crucial difference to charities that support the Maternity Transformation Programme and the National Ambition to reduce baby deaths by half and preterm births by a quarter. Equally, it would be a lifeline for charities providing information and support for people whose physical and mental health are impacted by reductions and restrictions in maternity services.
Chair of the Pregnancy and Baby Charities Network, Keith Reed, said: “The package of support announced by the Chancellor is welcome but we are yet to see any details of how it will be allocated. Our charities are plugging the gaps in care for women who are giving birth during the outbreak, saving babies lives now, and stepping up to support families and NHS workers when a baby dies.
“Many of the charities that the NHS relies upon to deliver support to families have already begun cutting frontline services because of their perilous financial positions. This is having a detrimental impact on families across the antenatal and postnatal period including those with babies in neonatal care. This situation is likely to get significantly worse in the coming days.
“All the charities are acutely aware of the central role they need to play in supporting families as NHS services respond to the current national emergency. All stand ready to deliver but many are being forced to withdraw support for families due to financial challenges. This situation will only get worse without Government intervention.
“We need a suitable package of support in days not weeks, so that we can continue to contribute to the response preventing parents from accessing acute care at a time of strain in the National Health Service and provide specialist services to parents.”
Many of the Pregnancy and Baby Charities Network members have specific information for women, families and health professionals affected by COVID-19.
Tommy’s is here to support anyone affected by baby loss and our Pregnancy Hub is being updated with all the latest information on coronavirus for parents-to-be.
Tommy’s has received a grant from the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care to support the costs of its PregnancyHub information and support services throughout the summer, due to rising demand in the wake of coronavirus.
Although recruitment to some clinical trials had to be paused when coronavirus hit the UK, scientists at Tommy’s Research Centres across the UK are still hard at work, supporting women and families in our specialist clinics and sharing their latest studies with academic journals.
The day before Mother’s Day, and two days before the UK officially went into coronavirus lockdown, Zara Dawson found out she was having a miscarriage. Her third consecutive miscarriage in less than a year, and fourth consecutive loss, after losing her second son Jesse in 2018 to termination for medical reasons.
As research shows half of UK mums are experiencing mental health problems in coronavirus lockdown, we've joined forces with Elvie on #TheBigSqueeze campaign to help Tommy's midwives continue to provide their vital support virtually during the pandemic.