Published on: 20 August 2021

ELHT’s Maternity Services have maintained their UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) accreditation, which they first achieved in 1998. The team were the first to receive the ‘Achieving Sustainability’ BFI GOLD award in 2017 and the first to revalidate in both 2018 and 2021.

The GOLD standards are designed to help services to embed Baby Friendly care long-term over four GOLD themes.

To achieve BFI GOLD accreditation and revalidation, the Trust has made a range of developments and innovations within the service, including:

  • Appointing a BFI Guardian and establishing a BFI Gold Leadership Team, with representatives from all areas of maternity services.
  • Monitoring the culture of kindness is strong and monitored via staff surveys, staff ‘listening roadshows’, parent audits and parent feedback. When carrying out audits, parents are also asked ‘Is there anything else you would like to feed back?’, ‘How kind and considerate were the staff?’ and ‘How can we do better’.
  • Designing a ‘BFI data dashboard’ to allow ongoing monitoring, examining all the data in one place and ‘rag’ rating it each month. This allows the team to develop interventions to support improvements.

“Reflecting on what Baby Friendly means to us as a team, in addition to maintaining evidence-based standards and commendable breastfeeding rates, the team facilitate support, encouragement, resources, knowledge, confidence, direction and importantly belief. A belief that it is possible to change lives, not just by increasing breastfeeding rates but also by enhancing feeding experiences and the closeness felt between a parent and baby”, said Sue Henry, Baby Friendly Lead.

“These memories and early experiences do last forever, shaping brain development and health for future generations. What we do now lasts a lifetime. We have been able to maintain the standards thanks to the dedication of all staff providing expert skills, support and quality care to all the new mothers, babies and families.”