Baby Friendly success for Southend’s neonatal unit
24 April 2015
Southend University Hospital’s neonatal unit has been awarded Stage 1 accreditation of the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative neonatal enhanced standards, becoming one of only four units in the country - and the only unit in the east of England - to do so.
The Stage 1 assessment is designed to ensure that the necessary
policies, guidelines, information and mechanisms are in place to
allow health care providers to effectively implement the Baby
Friendly standards; the unit was found to have met all of the
standards for Stage 1 accreditation.
In her report UNICEF's UK Baby Friendly Initiative deputy
programme director, Carmel Duffy, spoke of 'a family centred
approach within the unit' and 'excellent innovation in place with
breast milk valued and emphasis on developmental care and involving
parents as full partners in their baby's care.'
The report also praises the unit's innovative music therapy
session, a newly-introduced activity designed to involve
parents and siblings in the bonding process through music.
Senior neonatal sister, Emily Gaff, said: "We're delighted to
have achieved this accreditation which acknowledges the high
standards of care the team provides to vulnerable babies and their
"Research has shown that playing music can help with the bonding
process which is key to brain development, so for one hour in the
afternoon we play music such as nursery rhymes or Disney songs in
the special care nursery.
"We've had some really positive feedback from parents who feel
it offers some light relief at what can be a stressful and
emotional time. It's also a way of including the whole family - we
often have grandparents and siblings singing along to the
The team is now working towards Stage 2 which they hope to
achieve by the end of the year.
This is the latest Baby Friendly award for the hospital whose
maternity services already hold a Stage 2 Baby Friendly
accreditation jointly with South Essex Partnership Trust