Top award for NHS Borders midwives

NHS Borders’ maternity services have again been awarded the internationally-recognised UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Gold Award, matching the accreditation also achieved by the Borders General Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 10:09 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 10:09 am
The Borders General Hospital at Melrose. Photo: Bill McBurnie.
The Borders General Hospital at Melrose. Photo: Bill McBurnie.

The local health authority is one of only three health boards in Scotland to receive this prestigious award in recognition of its excellent and sustained practice in the support of infant feeding and parent-infant relationships.

The BFI accreditation is a globally recognised programme based on a set of evidence-based standards which are 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.

Interim lead midwife at NHS Borders, Kirsteen Guthrie, said: “This outstanding achievement, which represents our true core values, is a credit to our maternity team for their hard work and commitment during a challenging time.

"One of the main aims of the BFI is actively encouraging mothers to make an informed feeding choice. We achieve this by providing mums with the appropriate information, advice and support which takes into consideration their circumstances and focuses on close loving relationships.

“When mums decide to breastfeed this provides health benefits for both mum and baby such as reducing their baby’s risk of infections, diarrhoea and vomiting. There are also lifelong health benefits with breastfed babies having reduced rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease in adulthood. In addition to these benefits mums who breastfeed lower their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and obesity.”

Director of Nursing at NHS Borders and BFI Guardian, Sarah Horan, added: “[This award] is an amazing achievement which really highlights the dedication and commitment of our colleagues across maternity services and public health.

“I would like to thank our midwives, maternity care assistants, doctors, volunteer peer supporters and all of those involved for their hard work. We will continue to build upon this success into the new year and beyond to ensure that families in the Borders receive the best support possible.”