Neonatal Unit at RCHT receive reaccreditation for UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative

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Celebrations were held at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust as the Neonatal Unit were successfully awarded reaccreditation as part of the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative.

Members of the RCHT Neonatal Unit celebrate UNICEF reaccreditation

In the UK, the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative was first adopted in 1994. Its aim was to help standardise levels of care and support provided across the country. In the decades since, the international programme has provided an evidence-based approach to supporting breastfeeding and good infant nutrition, as well as helping parents maintain healthy relationships with their babies.

In 2012, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Maternity services achieved full Baby Friendly accreditation, with the neonatal team following in 2019 shortly after the new neonatal standard launched. Following a thorough reassessment process, which included interviews with parents, families, colleagues, and managers to evidence how Baby Friendly Initiative standards are being maintained and embedded for the long-term, the neonatal unit has now been successfully reaccredited.

“This is fantastic news for all of us at RCHT,” Neonatal Infant Feeding Lead Dellen Prescott explained. “The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust was among the first hospital trusts to achieve accreditation under the current new neonatal standards. Our reaccreditation was initially delayed due to the Covid pandemic, so it’s especially rewarding for the unit to be able to emerge from that unprecedented period knowing that we’re still providing the same high level of care and support that we delivered four years ago, and that we’re still working, progressing and moving forwards as a team.”

To become fully accredited, the unit must meet standards outlined by UNICEF. The first two stages support teams to embed the standards into written policies and procedures and educate colleagues to put this into practice. The final stage is based on the experiences of parents who currently (or have recently) had a baby stay in the unit.

“The Baby Friendly Initiative sets out best practice,” Dellen continues. “By providing a set of standards that hospitals can work towards, the initiative ensures that we deliver a consistently high level of staff education, training and care. It also ensures that parents and babies are getting consistent, strong, evidence-based information. To achieve reaccreditation under these criteria is a fantastic achievement for our hospitals.”

Cake with UNICEF baby friendly logo icing under wall sign for accreditation

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