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Wakefield Children’s services achieve ‘Baby Friendly’ accreditation with outstanding report

Wakefield Children’s services achieve ‘Baby Friendly’ accreditation with outstanding report

Ciara Metcalfe specialist breastfeeding health visitor and baby friendly lead and Victoria Holmes infant feeding health visitor

The Wakefield Health Visiting and Family Nurse Partnership service is celebrating being re-accredited with the national UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Award, after receiving an outstanding report from assessors.

The UNICEF Baby friendly Award is based on a set of evidence-based standards for children’s services. It is designed to provide parents with the best possible care so they can build close and loving relationships with their baby, and feed them in ways which will best support their health and development.

The services, which are run by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, took part in a rigorous re-assessment process in which inspectors gave 100 per cent scores on nine out of 14 standards. They really commended the service on achieving this following the pandemic.

Inspectors shared that all 58 mums interviewed reported ‘always’ in relation to staff being kind and considerate, and service delivery was highlighted as excellent, particularly in relation to face-to-face antenatal contacts which are not available in other areas of the country.

They shared how well the team’s pride shone through, saying: “The excellent training taking place has resulted in staff who are extremely confident and competent. All the staff interviewed, both clinical and more senior, spoke with great pride about the services they provided.”

This is the second time the Health Visiting and Family Nurse Partnership services has achieved the re-accreditation. This demonstrates that the training and standards are well-established in the care they provide, and they can now move forward to gaining the highest level of recognition – the Gold Award.

Margaret Appleyard, 0-19 service leader in Wakefield, said: “Evidence has shown that women receive a high standard of care in health care settings which are Baby Friendly accredited. This means increased support for establishing and supporting breastfeeding, so this accreditation is really important to us and we are so proud to have achieved it.”

Ciara Metcalfe specialist breastfeeding health visitor and baby friendly lead and Victoria Holmes infant feeding health visitor

Ciara Metcalfe, specialist breastfeeding health visitor and baby friendly lead for the service explained: “Women make decisions about how they want to feed their baby for a variety of reasons, including cultural expectations and personal circumstances. The UNICEF Baby Friendly standards aim to address this and support women to understand the health benefits of breastfeeding, how to build positive relationships with their baby and develop parenting skills. If parents then choose not to breastfeed, they need the best possible information and support to help minimise the risks of formula feeding.”

Victoria Holmes, infant feeding health visitor said: “It’s a privilege to work in the Infant Feeding team and to be a part of such valuable work. Knowing that we have continued to uphold UNICEF’s Baby Friendly standards throughout the challenging circumstances we’ve been working in is evidence that it is really engrained in how we work here in Wakefield.”