Celebrations are in order as Kingston Hospital has been named the latest recipient of a prestigious UNICEF accolade – the Baby Friendly Award.
UNICEF UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative recognises exceptional care provided for maternity, health visiting, neonatal and children’s centres services. Kingston Hospital is being rewarded particularly for care of mothers and its work to improve breast-feeding rates.
Gina Brockwell, director of midwifery at Kingston Hospital, said: “We are so grateful to all of the maternity staff whose amazing efforts have allowed us to achieve this award. They have worked tirelessly during a difficult period in healthcare to provide high quality care for women and their families in their chosen method of feeding.”
The initiative is part of a wider collaboration between UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to transform healthcare for mothers, babies and children in connection with public services across the globe.
Breda Murphy, Kingston Hospital’s infant feeding lead, said: “This award from the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to increase breast-feeding rates and improve care for all mothers at Kingston Hospital. We set out to ensure that all mothers and babies are supported to form a close and loving relationship – whatever their choice of feeding method – as this is the best start for every baby.”
Boosting breast-feeding rates is considered a priority for many maternity units and, according to WHO guidance, it is one of the most effective ways to protect children from illnesses due to the antibodies contained in breast milk.
UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative programme director Sue Ashmore said: “We are delighted that Kingston Hospital has achieved full Baby Friendly status. Our work to support breast-feeding is based on extensive and resounding evidence that breast-feeding saves lives, improves health and cuts costs in every country worldwide, rich and poor alike.”
The Baby Friendly accreditation is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as an indicator of quality care.
Ashmore said: “Mothers at Kingston Hospital can be confident that their midwives will provide high standards of care.”