Couple launch campaign with MP after baby heartbreak

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A Harrogate couple who have faced the heartbreak of their three children being born premature and sick helped launch a campaign at the House of Commons last week.

Davindera and Manraj Sanghera from Harrogate, met Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones at a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons in Westminster to launch a campaign calling for more financial help for families who have premature and sick babies in hospital.

The campaign comes after a report revealed that parents of babies admitted to neonatal care face costs of over £2,000 during their baby’s stay in hospital.

The campaign and reception were organised by Bliss, the special care baby charity, which provides support to families of babies born premature and sick across the UK. The issue is close to Davindera and Manraj’s hearts after their experience of having three children born premature and sick.

Davindera and Manraj’s first child Raj-Arjun was born at 37 weeks gestation, their second son Simran was born at 29 weeks, and their third child, daughter Priya was born at 34 weeks. Danvindera and Manraj spent many weeks in hospital in neonatal and special care units in Harrogate and Leeds with their children, and so understand first-hand how the costs can mount up.

Manraj said: “Our children were at the LGI and Saint James’s in Leeds not Harrogate so we had to travel there.

“When our third child was born we had a medical carer at home looking after our son, who is disabled, and our daughter was staying with family in Harrogate and the baby was at hospital in Leeds so we were travelling between so many places.

“We would have to go out and move the car because of parking costs, it isn’t something you want to be thinking about when your visiting your baby.”

She added: “I got involved in the campaign because I wanted to give a personal perspective on the problem. It is not necessarily people on low incomes, it hits people on middle incomes too.”

Bliss’s campaign wants parents travelling over 20 miles to see their baby in hospital to have their costs reimbursed and calls for access to free parking and accommodation so parents can be close to their babies while they are receiving treatment.

Mr Jones said: “It was a pleasure to meet Manraj and Davindera.

“I was very interested to hear their story and I’m delighted to support them and Bliss’ campaign to help families concentrate on their baby instead of worrying about their finances.”