Ipswich: Hospital earned �7,750 from baby scan photos

THE town’s hospital raked in �7,750 last year by charging expectant mums for photographs of their unborn baby scans, the Star can reveal.

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust made the profit in 2011/12 by charging �5 to parents who want a memento picture of the first sight of their child during an ultrasound scan.

Figures released to the Star, following a Freedom of Information request, revealed specialists in the hospital’s maternity department carried out 5,783 nuchal translucencies, which assess whether a baby is likely to have Down’s Syndrome, and dating scans, as well as 3,967 20-week scans during 2011/12.

Mum-to-be Gemma Halliday, who lives in Kesgrave, is expecting her first child with fiance Ross McCready in October.

The 24-year-old said: “I don’t agree with charging for scan pictures.

“Ross’s family lives in Kent and they wanted a keepsake, as did my parents for their first grandchild, so we ended up spending �15.

“The least the NHS can do is provide one for free as it’s such a small picture. It’s not like it’s anything grand and spectacular to give away.”

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The figures also revealed the total gross spend for the Heath Road hospital’s maternity ultrasound service in 2011/12 was �658.554.

But not all parents disagree with paying for their baby’s first keepsake photo.

Kerry Parker, who lives in Shotley with husband Sean, gave birth to the couple’s first baby, Preston, in March.

She said: “I think in a way you should have to pay for your photo as it does cost the NHS.

“It is only �5 but what annoys me is the amount of people I saw walking out without paying and it doesn’t seem like the NHS bother about it as they give you your photo before you have paid.

“The number of pregnant people who go through the hospital’s doors would cost the NHS a fortune if they gave away free scan photos.”

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said a �5 charge is made to cover the costs of scanning equipment and photo printing, and that the money is reinvested in the hospital’s services.

She added: “This is a purely optional service we offer to parents. Feedback shows that it is a highly valued service.”

n What do you think of paying for a ultrasound scan photo as a keepsake? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk