We are delighted to announce that NHS England and NHS Improvement and the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative have agreed a joint support offer for the 38 maternity services that have not yet achieved full Baby Friendly accreditation.
The intention is that all maternity services in England will be fully accredited by 2024.
As part of the NHS’s ongoing vision to improve postnatal care, the Long Term Plan includes a commitment that: ‘All maternity services that do not deliver an accredited, evidence-based infant feeding programme (such as the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative) will begin the accreditation process’ – with a view of all services achieving full accreditation by March 2024.
Local Maternity Systems (LMSs) are responsible for ensuring that all maternity services are on track to achieve this commitment, which will help to improve standards and reduce variation in the care women and families receive. Targeted support is now available for local services to fulfil this commitment.
The support offer
Level 1 (20 units) – accreditation assessment costs: NHS England and NHS Improvement will fund Baby Friendly accreditation assessments to achieve full accreditation. This will occur up until March 2024 for all services who are currently at Stage 2 and have not yet achieved full Baby Friendly accreditation.
Level 2 (18 units) – accreditation assessment costs and additional support: In addition to the support outlined in Level 1, for the services that have made limited progress with Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative will provide targeted support. This will include:
- A dedicated planning meeting for each service with the Baby Friendly team to help them develop an action plan for implementing the Baby Friendly standards and to assist with the preparations for Baby Friendly accreditation
- Two nationally funded spaces per provider to attend five days of UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative training for the project lead (AfC Band 7 or above), supported by an appropriate manager. This training will be run on a cohort basis from April 2021
- Twice-yearly peer-to-peer support meetings.
Accessing the support offer
Eligible services have the option to access the funded support offers from 12 November 2020 to help them achieve Baby Friendly accreditation. To access this support, services will need to sign commitments detailing how they will ensure implementation of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative. This will be coordinated at the Local Maternity Service (LMS) level. For more information, please read the Overview document.