Our service is focused on encouraging breastfeeding and improving breastfeeding rates, and I support health visitors to provide a valuable service to mums and babies in our area. Gaining a stage three accreditation means our service is reaching the rigorous standards Unicef sets out, meeting the needs of mothers and spreading knowledge in the community.
To achieve this, I delivered training to more than 40 colleagues on how they can best support the development of the early relationship between mothers and babies, the guidelines for responsive bottle feeding and the latest research. The standard of care delivered by the service was highly praised by Unicef during their assessment. Sue Ashmore, the director of Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative, said the knowledge and understanding of our health visitors was excellent – some of the best she’s experienced in the country.
I also took on the training of around 60 children’s centre staff to help them gain stage three Unicef accreditation. This was the first time the two children’s centres had gone through the assessment, and there’s only one other children’s centre in the south west that has the accreditation, so it’s significant that we achieved that. Children’s centres are an excellent vehicle for promoting our message and growing the support in the community because they work closely with families that might not engage so much with health professionals, so to have that two-pronged approach is fantastic.
The next stage of the Unicef BFI accreditation is the gold standard, which means achieving sustainability and commitment from all levels of the service, and we’ve been recommended by Unicef to go for that in the next assessment.
I speak with many mums to get feedback on the support we provide, so I hear first-hand the difference our service makes to their lives. When you hear that the service has enabled mums to continue breastfeeding it’s really wonderful and we know the long-term difference that makes for the baby. It’s not just about food, it’s about delivering love. We’re contributing to the good of society – what could be bigger than that?
Jaskiran, who joined us from the NHS Graduate Management Scheme, tells how her time at Virgin Care has given her a greater understanding of the world of health and social care and says she feels this will benefit her now and throughout her career.
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Brian Kinsella is Clinical Lead and Clinical Nurse Continence Specialist in East Staffordshire. Over the last 18 months, Brian and Learning Disability Nurse Steph Brinklow, have been visiting care and assisted living homes together, educating staff about continence issues and helping to change the lives of people they care for.