MACDONALD CALLS FOR NHS FORTH VALLEY RETHINK ON MILK BANK SERVICE
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 09:04
Falkirk East MSP, Angus MacDonald has written to Professor Fiona McKenzie, Chief Executive of NHS Forth Valley and asked her to explain why NHS Forth Valley board has taken the decision not to take part in a new national donor milk bank to be launched in June this year during Breastfeeding Awareness Week
At the moment NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are the only provider of a Donor Milk Bank service in Scotland and have so far been able to meet demand from other requesting health boards for donor milk. The Scottish Emergency Rider Volunteer Service (ScotsERVS) facilitates the transportation of processed donor milk to requesting units.
Donor milk banks provide a service which collect, screen, process and dispense breast milk donated by breastfeeding mothers who are not biologically related to the recipient infant. Donors undergo screening to make sure the milk is healthy and disease free.
This milk is used to feed premature and sick babies who are unable to be breastfed by their own mother either due to premature labour, or ill health.
Commenting on his letter to NHS Forth Valley, Mr MacDonald said:
“There is evidence which shows being fed breast milk, either from their own mother or from a donor, leads to better outcomes for babies in need of special care.
“I support the development of a pan-Scotland Donor Milk Service and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are currently exploring options to provide equitable access to donor breast milk across all of Scotland.
“The decision by NHS Forth Valley to opt out of the new service will result in clinicians being unable to access donor breast milk from the Glasgow milk bank, as it will be unworkable for Glasgow to continue dispensing milk on request after June if the recipient health authority has not paid for their share of the service.
“In the case of NHS Forth Valley, which has a health authority that provides tertiary level neonatal care, the lack of participation in the service has left a large shortfall in the funding of almost £9000 and this will potentially mean that babies in clinical need from this area could be denied access to an important and potentially life-saving resource.
“It seems very short-sighted to opt out of the scheme which will deliver very real benefits to vulnerable babies.
“I have therefore asked NHS Forth Valley’s Chief Executive to explain why they have taken this decision and would suggest that they reconsider.”