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Baby Friendly success for Trusts’ collaborative working

23 October 2014

Health Care

Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) have worked in collaboration to jointly achieve Stage 2 accreditation of the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative.

Established in 1992 by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme which offers a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care they provide to all mothers and babies. In the UK, the scheme works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive the best possible support around infant feeding, whether they choose to breastfeed or bottle feed their babies.

Stage 2 involved the assessment of staff knowledge and skills ensuring the curriculum and guidelines are in place, as well as delivering breast feeding management training to all staff involved in providing care to pregnant women and new mums. The accreditation recognises that a health care facility is successfully implementing recognised best practice standards.

The teams are now working towards Stage 3, full accreditation, which they hope to achieve by June 2015.

Julie Newby, infant feeding advisor at Southend University Hospital, said: "We are thrilled to have passed the Stage 2 of the initiative, which shows our dedication to increasing breastfeeding rates and improving care for all mothers who choose to have their baby at Southend University Hospital."

Veronica Renyard, SEPT's Baby Friendly implementation lead, added: "Working in collaboration with Southend University Hospital's maternity services has meant that we have provided the skills to our workforce and that there is consistent information and support to mothers as they move from the maternity services back into the care of health visiting teams within the community."