It’s one of only three health boards in Scotland – the others being Fife and Tayside – to receive the internationally-recognised UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Gold Award, in recognition of its excellent and sustained practice in the support of infant feeding and parent-infant relationships.
Nicky Berry, director of nursing and operations at NHS Borders, said: “Receiving the UNICEF UK BFI Gold Award is an amazing achievement and truly demonstrates the dedication and commitment from the team within maternity services, health visitors and our public health colleagues.
"This is a celebration of excellent practice in infant feeding support and highlights the important role that our health care staff, both at the BGH and in the community, plays in nurturing the development of parent-infant relationships.
“I would like to thank our midwives, maternity care assistants, health visitors, doctors, volunteer peer supporters and all of those involved for their hard work. We will continue to build upon this success throughout 2021 and beyond to ensure that families in the Borders receive the best support possible.”
The BFI accreditation is based on a set of evidence-based standards designed to provide parents with the best possible care.
In addition, the programme aims to help parents build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed them in ways which support positive health and development.
Health boards implement these standards in stages over a number of years and are externally assessed by UNICEF UK at each stage.
Those who achieve the Gold Award, which is the highest level of accreditation, undergo further rigorous assessments on various aspects of their service, including the promotion of baby-friendly standards, the culture within teams, monitoring of standards over a sustained period of time and how services continue to develop and maintain these standards.
The initiative began in the UK in 1994 and currently 91% of maternity units across the UK are working towards their accreditation.