Basildon hospital unit a stage nearer Unicef status

Basildon University Hospital’s Maternity Unit is just one of three in the East of England to have passed Stage 2 of UNICEF’s UK Baby Friendly Initiative. Staff are now aiming for their final Stage 3 assessment and full accreditation as a UNICEF Baby Friendly hospital.

Set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, the Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme that provides practical and effective ways of increasing breastfeeding rates and raises the quality of care for mothers. Accreditation is in three stages. Basildon achieved Stage 1 in 2009, with the Unit’s Specialist Midwives for Infant Feeding, Geraldine Purver and Lisette Harris, training and equipping all staff with the skills to offer support and information to new mums.

Stage 2 has now been passed following an assessment in August that included personal interviews with more than 40 members of staff and scrutiny of breastfeeding information and documentation. The assesssors were very complimentary, commenting in their report that: “The Unit presents a positive approach to breastfeeding and has consistently displayed enthusiasm and commitment towards providing an effective training programme. Staff interviewed demonstrated enthusiasm for ensuring that all mothers and babies received a high standard of support to enable them to feed and care for their babies confidently. The training team and staff are highly commended for the high standard of knowledge, understanding and skills demonstrated at this assessment.”

Lisette Harris said: “We are absolutely delighted with how well the inspection visit went. To receive such high praise from the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative is recognition of our commitment to increase breastfeeding rates and improve care for all mothers. This was a great team effort involving midwives, maternity care assistants and breastfeeding support staff, as well as our doctors and colleagues in the neonatal and paediatric departments. It’s great that everyone is so committed and we’re now in reach of Stage 3 and full accreditation.”

“This is testimony to the hard work and dedication shown by our two Specialist Midwives’, Lisette and Geraldine, in initially training all the staff and also to the obvious staff commitment in achieving the high standards required. Our efforts have paid off and the unit has something to be very proud of,” declared Head of Midwifery, Lynne Cook. “All the team is to be congratulated and I am confident will be equally successful with Stage 3.”

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