Wiltshire health visitors recognised for commitment to being Baby Friendly by UNICEF

Wiltshire’s Health Visiting Team has been presented with three plaques by UNICEF at their new hubs in Trowbridge, Chippenham and Salisbury, recognising their commitment to being Baby Friendly and recognising the support they are offering to families in the county.

The service, which is one of those provided by Virgin Care on behalf of Wiltshire Council and the local NHS, was re-accredited with level 3 ‘Baby Friendly’ status last year.

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme run by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation which recognises that most of the barriers preventing women from breastfeeding can be overcome by providing access to well-trained health professionals, good quality community support and a widespread understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding.

The Virgin Care team has worked to improve its support for mums, with training for colleagues so they can better support pregnant people, and new families with feeding their babies. They were commended by UNICEF for their ‘outstanding’ achievements in early implementation of new standards and introduction of breastfeeding assessment forms to a baby’s personal child health record, also known as the ‘red book’.

Val Scrase, Head of Operations for Wiltshire Children’s Community Services, said: “Our health visitors provide excellent care and support to families in Wiltshire and since we’ve recruited a specialist infant feeding co-ordinator to the team we’ve improved on the delivery of feeding advice for mums. The recognition the team deserves for their support is a showing sign of their commitment.

“The move to the new hubs will continue to help us improve as it brings care closer to people’s homes and allows our colleagues to centre care around the children and families they see.”

Dr Matthew Hodson MBE, Chief Nurse at Virgin Care, added: “As one of the largest providers of public health nursing services, which includes health visiting, the dedicated team in Wiltshire, like so many others at Virgin Care are making a real difference to the people they see. The new hubs will provide them with further resources and support to continue to do just that, while we develop innovations to support colleagues to spend more time with those in their care.”

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