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NHS Fife’s Maternity Service has been reaccredited with a Gold Award by UNICEF as part of their Baby Friendly Initiative, becoming the first Health Board in Scotland to do so.

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a programme which supports and encourages mothers to breastfeed. Although the programme was initially aimed at hospital maternity services, the programme has since expanded to include neonatal units, children’s centres and even universities.

The Maternity Service in NHS Fife was also the first in Scotland to achieve the UNICEF Baby Friendly Gold Award when it initially achieved accreditation back in 2019. The prestigious 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 gold accreditation and every three years thereafter.

After a thorough assessment process, NHS Fife’s Maternity Service has retained 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.

NHS Fife’s Maternity Service will retain gold status until at least July 2023.

NHS Fife Director of Nursing, Janette Owens, said:

“We’re delighted that UNICEF have again seen fit to award gold accreditation to NHS Fife’s Maternity Service.

“Retaining our gold status is a source of great pride to everyone involved and helps recognise the years of hard work by our staff in ensuring that our maternity services are both as accessible as possible, and provide families with the support they need to make informed choices about feeding their infant.

“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.”

Find out more about UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative at https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/.