Parents of babies in ICU 'must get free Covid tests'

Parents of babies in ICU 'must get free Covid tests'

March 27, 2022

Parents of babies in ICU ‘must get free Covid tests when visiting them’, say charities and MPs

  • Free lateral flows will only be available to most vulnerable and social care staff
  • Some hospitals require parents to test every day their baby is in intensive care
  • Government source said mothers may be exempt due to being seen as ‘patients’

Parents of babies in intensive care should be exempt from paying for Covid tests when visiting them, charities and MPs have said.

Free lateral flow tests will end for most people from Friday, and will remain available only to the most vulnerable and social care staff.

Tom Padden, a father whose baby spent 104 days in intensive care, said he and his wife would have had to pay for over 200 tests under the new rules and warned: ‘If you can’t afford a test, you can’t afford to see your baby.

‘You can’t put another barrier in front of people who need to be with their poorly babies.’

Parents of babies in intensive care should be exempt from paying for Covid tests when visiting them, charities and MPs have said (file photo)

Some hospitals require parents to test every day their baby is in intensive care. Mr Padden added: ‘Having to pay for tests adds another worry when you’re at breaking point.’

A Government source said mothers may be exempt because they would be seen as ‘patients’, but refused to say if this would apply to fathers. 

A Department of Health spokesman said details of any exemptions will be given ‘in due course’.

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns said hospitals should offer free tests or adapt testing requirements. Caroline Lee-Davey, of baby charity Bliss, said: ‘Parents aren’t visitors to their baby, they are part of the care team.’

Free lateral flow tests will end for most people from Friday, and will remain available only to the most vulnerable and social care staff

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