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Parents launch online campaign.

WHEN premature babies leave the care of a Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), UK guidelines mean they cannot return, because there is a risk of spreading infection.

Gareth and Sara Briscoe believe this policy could have meant the difference between life and death for their baby, Katie May. They fear their daughter may have picked up an infection while on a normal paediatric ward.

They have set up a website, www.katies -legacy.co.uk, from where they plan to campaign for the Government to allow premature babies to be re-admitted to SCBUs or to introduce alternative ways to protect those babies from infections.

Their campaign has already won support from Welsh Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesman Kirsty Williams, who pledged to raise the issue with health minister Lesley Griffiths.

She said: "This is an issue close to my heart because my own middle daughter spent some time in special care."

Conservative shadow health minister Darren Millar said: "We simply don't know whether Katie May would have survived if admitted onto a special care baby unit, but this case does suggest that the policy which prevents re-admissions onto such units is wrong."

Dr Catherine Norton, clinical director for child health at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB), said babies could not be re-admitted to SCBUs due to the risk of infection.

She added: "In the UHB and across the UK there are widely accepted clinical protocols in place regarding access to special care baby units. These are based on strong clinical evidence."

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 31, 2011
Words:258
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