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Our neonatal units announced as one of the UNICEF National Neonatal Project winners

27 January 2022

We are delighted to announce that our neonatal units at both Chelsea and West Middlesex were selected to join the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative.

We are delighted to announce that our neonatal units at both Chelsea and West Middlesex were selected to join the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative.  

The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI), set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is globally acknowledged as the gold standard for maternity and community care, covering maternity, health visiting, children’s centres and neonatal care. Our units will be provided with a range of support opportunities over a three-year period in order to achieve Baby Friendly Accreditation. 

Lesley Watts, CEO and Baby Friendly Guardian of our Trust, said: “I am so proud of our neonatal units for being chosen to join the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative. This is a great achievement and I wish the teams all the best as they begin the journey towards accreditation.”  

The BFI is designed to support infant feeding and parent-infant relationships by working with public services to improve standards of care. The programme is well-established in maternity and health visiting services throughout the UK, and bespoke standards for neonatal units have now been launched to enable neonatal units to achieve independent accreditation.  

Helen Mol and Purvi Patel, Neonatal Baby Friendly Co-ordinators at our Trust, said: “We are excited to embark on this project, and are delighted to have received the funding to support us through this project. Our Trust has been accredited with the Neonatal Standards since 2012/13, so the Neonatal Project is the next logical step. This week we have our first big meeting with UNICEF to plan the project, which will launch our Trust on the Baby Friendly journey.”

Being part of the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative means our Trust will undergo three stages of accreditation, helping transform our care. The programme will support our services by setting standards of care, providing training and personalised support to help our services implement their standards, assessing progress by measuring the skills and knowledge of our health professionals, and interviewing mothers to hear about their personal experiences of care. 

By working towards Baby Friendly Accreditation, which is a nationally recognised mark of quality care, we will be able to provide a higher standard of care for both mothers and their babies.