Mother and baby care in Cornwall wins UNICEF accreditation
10:30am Sunday 7th October 2012 in News
High quality care of mother and babies in Cornwall has led to three organisations being awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly Accreditation by UNICEF.
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust’s maternity services, Cornwall Foundation Trust’s health visiting services and Cornwall Council’s Children’s Centres received their awards at a ceremony at Heartlands in Pool.
Anne Woods, deputy programme director for UNICEF, presented the three organisations with plaques.
The awards, which include women’s views on services, recognise the work of all three organisations in supporting families and promoting breastfeeding.
Cornwall Foundation Trust’s infant feeding co-ordinator Stephanie Heard said: “This really is important news for families in Cornwall. It means they can be confident that they are getting the right care and information when they have contact with our services.
“We know that breastfeeding is important to maintain health. This award highlights how we are helping women to breastfeed for as long as they want to and that we provide support to those who wish to bottle feed to ensure they do it as safely as possible.”
The UNICEF award, given to health services that area recognised to have best practice standards in place, is the culmination of more than five years work. It began with each organisation signing a UNICEF ‘certificate of commitment’.
Staff then had to pass three further stages – a review of staff training programmes, an audit of staff knowledge and skills and then a survey of women using the services before the Baby Friendly status was bestowed.
UNICEF’s Anne Woods said Cornwall was the first county in the UK where all the organisations came together to achieve the award.
She added: “This is a powerful award because it’s saying to you that the vast majority of mums in Cornwall are getting a good service.”
Receiving the award on behalf of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, head of midwifery Jan Walters said: “For us to receive this award is the icing on the cake. No-one should under-estimate the work that has gone into getting this and I want to thank all the midwives, the maternity support workers, everyone who made this possible.”
Neil Burden received the award on behalf of Cornwall Council. He described the awards as “incredible” but stressed this was “only the beginning.”
He said: “We now live in quite an isolated community where families are not always close by. We need to be there for the new mums and dads.”
All three organisations will continue to be assessed by UNICEF to ensure they continue to meet the Baby Friendly targets, with a self-assessment required in 12 months and then an assessment by a UNICEF team in 2014.