Unicef award RD&E's neonatal unit as a gold standard

7 Aug 2020

The Neonatal Unit at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) is the first level 2 neonatal unit in the UK to achieve the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative Gold award, which was presented at the Trust this week.

The Baby Friendly accreditation, set up by Unicef and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme based on a set of evidence-based standards which are designed to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby in ways which will support optimum health and development. Facilities implement the standards in stages over a number of years and are externally assessed by Unicef UK at each stage.

The gold award looks at different aspects of the unit including whether the leadership team promotes baby friendly standards, the culture within the wider team, monitoring of baby friendly standards and how the unit continues to develop the service to maintain these standards.

To achieve the standard, Unicef interviewed a number of families who had spent time on the neonatal unit and found that:

  • 100% of mothers interviewed felt that they had been supported with developing a close and loving relationship with their baby
  • 100% of mothers interviewed felt that they had been encouraged to have skin to skin contact with their baby as early and as often as possible
  • 95% of mothers interviewed felt fully involved in their baby’s care

Louise Rattenbury, Matron on the neonatal unit, said: “I’m really proud of the team for all of the hard work that went into achieving this accreditation. Babies and their families are always at the forefront of care in the neonatal unit and we continue to look for ways that we can improve services and support families on a neonatal journey.”

Dave Thomas, Interim Chief Nurse at the RD&E, said: “I’m so pleased that our fantastic neonatal team have managed to achieve this accreditation. It’s something that the team have been working incredibly hard towards achieving since we first were Baby Friendly accredited in 2016 and I’m very proud that we are the first level 2 neonatal unit in the country to have achieved this.”

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