Maternity services in Doncaster and Bassetlaw have become the proud recipients of the highest level of Baby Friendly accreditation awarded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
This prestigious and powerful award recognises the outstanding care and support Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals provides to pregnant women, mothers and babies.
The award was presented to the Trust’s staff by UNICEF’s UK Deputy Programme Director for the Baby Friendly Initiative, Anne Woods.
During the visit to Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s Maternity Unit Anne chatted with Trust staff and met new mum Victoria Bennett and baby Pollyanna.
Anne said “It has been a real privilege to come and present this award, especially because the Maternity Services in Bassetlaw and Doncaster had received such an outstanding assessment. It was remarkable how much the mothers had commented on the kindness of staff and the warm friendly feeling they had in the units.”
“At UNICEF we use the Baby Friendly Initiative to recognise the highest standards of early year’s care which is vitally important to the health and wellbeing of both the mother and baby. Doncaster and Bassetlaw mothers can be assured of the best possible support and advice in feeding and caring for their babies and to strengthen the mother-baby bond.”
The award follows months of rigorous testing and an external visit by UNICEF’s team of assessors to the Trust in December 2013. Both of the Trusts units were assessed against a range of criteria relating to antenatal care, keeping mothers and babies together, breastfeeding, and providing practical information and support to mothers in their chosen feeding method. The findings showed that both Maternity Units scored significantly higher than the 80% standard required.
Richard Parker, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Quality at the Trust, said: “This award signifies the long journey we have taken to become a fully accredited Baby Friendly Trust. It is an acknowledgement of the passion and commitment of our staff to provide a service that is second to none. All credit goes to our Infant Feeding Coordinators Elaine Merrills and Susan Henderson, and their manager Debbie McKnight. Our aim now is to maintain and continuously improve these high standards for all the women who use our Maternity Services.”
UNICEF Baby Friendly Accreditation is given to health services that have best practice standards in place. Achieving full accreditation is the result of over five year’s work since Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals first registered its commitment to the Baby Friendly initiative in 2008. The Trust has worked through the three levels of accreditation and received the UNICEF Stage 1 accreditation in April 2009, followed by Stage 2 in February 2011 and the highest, Stage 3 in January 2014.
The Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. It provides a practical and effective way for health services to protect, promote and support breastfeeding and encourage the development of close and loving relationships between parents and infants.