Maternity team celebrates international reaccreditation

The Maternity team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is celebrating being re-accredited by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) with the prestigious Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Award.

The reaccreditation, which assesses 34 standards of infant feeding and relationship building amongst staff, pregnant women and new mothers at the trust, was carried out in early November over two days of thorough assessments.

The assessments followed a series of previous assessments over the last five years. In 2012, the trust passed stage one which looked at policies and procedures. The stage two assessments in 2013 took a look at staff knowledge and skills, and then in 2015, the stage three assessments looked at whether the standards were embedded into practice by interviewing new mothers, including those with a baby on the Neonatal Unit and pregnant women.

In order for the Maternity Unit to be reaccredited, the most recent assessments accumulated all three of these stages. 38 mothers were interviewed about their experiences, as well as 30 members of staff assessed on their knowledge and skills. This included representatives from different departments across the Maternity and Neonatal units such as consultants, hospital and community midwives, NICU nurses, nursery nurses, maternity care assistants and midwifery managers.

Sue Ashmore, Programme Director for UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative in the UK noted that: “UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative is fairly unique within the health service, not because it sets standards and accredits facilities, but rather because it relies very heavily on interviews with clinical staff and with mothers themselves to determine how far the standards are being implemented. This means that it is a very hard accreditation to achieve, requires genuine change and takes a tremendous amount of effort over a long period of time to reach full accreditation. This is a real achievement for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust.”

Luisa Lyons, NNUH Infant Feeding Co-coordinator said: “We’re delighted to have received this reaccreditation. Since 2011 when we began our BFI journey and the infant team was established, we have been providing a dedicated infant feeding service and this reaccreditation means that our patients can be rest assured they will receive the best possible care. I am so proud of everyone in Maternity and NICU who have worked so hard to achieve this result. It shows a true example of what great team work is apparent within the department.”

The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO), is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies. In the UK, the initiative works with UK public services to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships. Support for these relationships is important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed. The award is given to Hospitals after an assessment by a UNICEF team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.

Frances Bolger, Head of Women’s and Midwifery Services at NNUH said: “This assessment report is a chance to look at what areas we have excelled in as well as a chance to look at what areas we can improve. We have developed an action plan to look at these particular areas and our next aim is to be accredited with the UNICEF BFI ‘Gold Award’, which is the most prestigious award to be given to a unit.”

As part of the assessment process, the maternity team were able to show assessors the initiatives that take place at the trust including:

  • The new specialist infant feeding clinic, run by a Lactation Consultant at the Norwich Community Hospital each week. This is a project to reduce Neonatal Readmissions with excessive weight loss.
  • The training of over 100 midwives and nurses to be “key workers”, who have additional training in managing more complicated feeding issues.
  • The use of donor human milk for vulnerable babies on the Neonatal Unit.
  • The Restrictive Lingual Frenulum (tongue tie) service, which is run as a multidisciplinary team service led by Mr Ashish Minocha and includes the Paediatric Surgeons and Luisa Lyons as a Specialist Midwife.

Luisa said: “Thanks to Mr Minocha, several members of the team and I are now trained to perform tongue tie divisions where appropriate, and as a result the waiting time for babies needing assessment and treatment has reduced significantly, and currently we have no waiting list for this procedure.”

Dr David Booth, Chief of Division for Women’s and Children’s Division and UNICEF Baby Friendly Guardian for the Trust said: “This is fantastic news for both the trust and for our patients. Gaining the reaccreditation and achieving this international recognition is a great achievement for the team. When our patients come to NNUH they can be assured that they will be receiving a world class service.”

The Infant Feeding team recognise the importance of listening to patients and getting their feedback. If you have had recent experience with the team, please email to let them know your thoughts.


Tuesday 28th of November 2017 11:19:14 AM