Baby-friendly awards for health visitors in County Durham and Darlington

The Growing Healthy health visiting services in County Durham and Darlington have been re-accredited with Unicef UK’s ‘Baby Friendly Initiative’ standard, with the assessment team saying that “pregnant women and new mothers receive a very high standard of care”. 

The service, run by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, was found to have met all of the standards to enable re-assessment to be passed during a rigorous analysis which involved the input and views of new and expectant mums.

The standards are antenatal care; enabling continued breastfeeding; informed decisions regarding the introduction of food or fluids other  than breast milk; close and loving relationships; and communication & culture.

Health visitors are registered nurses or midwives who have an additional qualification in specialist community public health nursing. They are highly skilled in the assessment and co-ordination of support tailored to individual and family needs.

The Unicef UK assessment team said that staff are commended for their work to maintain the standards already established. The assessment team noted consistently high scores for staff and mothers across the new standards, indicating a service already embedding them in their care provision – many Health Visiting staff have recently attended special antenatal training, which has complemented their understanding of the standards.

As part of the assessment, all mothers interviewed were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the service and given a chance to feedback further comments. An overwhelming 95 per cent said that they were very happy with care.

Suzanne Lamb, Head of Children’s Public Health Nursing, County Durham, at Harrogate and District Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted that County Durham and Darlington Growing Healthy team has achieved re-accreditation on the full Unicef Baby Friendly status on Friday. This is a fantastic achievement and is really good news for mums and mums-to-be.

“The passion, professionalism and determination of all staff was reflected in the excellent feedback. Well done to staff for their hard work, and thank you to staff and service users for giving up their time as part of the assessment process.”

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organization and Unicef. It was established in 1992 to encourage maternity hospitals to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and to practise in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative subsequently extended the principles to include community health-care services and university programmes for midwifery and health visiting/public health nursing.


For further information please contact:

Paul Widdowfield, Communications and Marketing Manager, and 01423 557470.