When it comes to babies and children under five, Salford’s services are the most baby friendly in the north west – and that’s official.
Salford City Council and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust’s joint nought to five services have become the first in the region to achieve the joint Gold Standard UNICEF Baby Friendly Award.
The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative is an internationally recognised mark of quality care. It demonstrates that a service is supporting families with feeding and helps them develop close, loving relationships, ensuring all babies get the best possible start in life. Gold standard accreditation recognises that a service has the leadership and culture to maintain the standards for the long term.
It means that parents who want help with however they choose to feed their child know they are getting top notch help, support and advice, along with first class baby health services in Salford.
Breastfeeding rates have risen from 33% to 48% as a result of the two organisations’ joint work on the award which means hundreds of Salford children are now getting a better start in life.
Deputy City Mayor Councillor John Merry said Salford was the first place in the north west to achieve the standard jointly with the NHS.
“It has taken eight years of hard work to reach this standard but we are determined to give our families the very best support. It means any new parent who is seen by their health visitor or go into one of our children’s centres know they will get the very best care and support,” he said.
“One of our more innovative ideas has been to create infant feeding groups which take parents through their child’s first year instead of having separate groups for each stage and to run Well Baby Clinics alongside them so parents can get their babies weighed and get any advice or reassurance they need.”
Tyrone Roberts, Director of Nursing at Salford Royal, said: “It’s great to see the positive impact this partnership has had on the many families who are supported by our services.
“To achieve gold accreditation is testament to the hard work of a lot of colleagues who constantly strive to ensure parents who live across the city are able to give their babies the best possible start in life.”
Pauline Mulhall, Baby Friendly Initiative Project Manager, Children’s Services at Salford Royal, said: “This is all about putting families at the heart of what we do. We want to make sure they receive consistent care and information and it is really paying off.
“UNICEF assessors found that every single mum they interviewed across both the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust 0-19 health visiting service and council services said staff treated them with kindness and consideration. It has taken a huge amount of change and hard work over the years to achieve the gold award and knowing parents are behind it makes it all worthwhile.
“We want to help women and their families make informed choices about how they feed their baby and support them in those choices. While breastfeeding does gives children the best start in life we are here for all parents regardless of how they decide to feed their baby.”
UNICEF representative Janette Westman will present the award to Salford Royal Foundation Trust and Salford City Council at a joint celebration ceremony on Thursday 23 January.