Scottish first as Fife maternity service retains UNICEF gold award

NHS Fife has become the first health board in Scotland to have its maternity service reaccredited with a gold award by UNICEF as part of its Baby Friendly initiative.

The project supports and encourages mothers to breastfeed.

Although initially aimed at hospital maternity services it has since expanded to include neonatal units, children’s centres and even universities.

Fife’s maternity service was also the first in Scotland to achieve the UNICEF Baby Friendly gold award when it initially achieved accreditation back in 2019.

Maternity services staff outside the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy

The accolade recognised the gold-standard level of knowledge and commitment shown by staff in promoting breastfeeding, and bringing mothers and babies closer through the feeding experience.

Gold-accredited services are required to undergo a formal revalidation process one year following accreditation and every three years thereafter.

After a thorough assessment process, the service has retained its gold status, with UNICEF highlighting both the way the service has adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to develop measures to protect breastfeeding, and how fathers have been supported to stay with their partner and baby in the postnatal ward to avoid separation of the family unit.

Janette Owens, director of nursing, said: “Retaining our gold status is a source of great pride to everyone involved.

“Becoming the first health board in Scotland to achieve gold accreditation was a tremendous accolade and becoming the first board to retain the accreditation is equally satisfying.

“Hopefully this will help give new and expectant parents across Fife the confidence they will be supported throughout every stage of their pregnancy, and indeed beyond.”

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