The neonatal intensive care unit at Southampton’s Princess Anne Hospital has become the first in the UK to be honoured by the charity Bliss for its family-friendly neonatal care.
The unit, part of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, has gained official Bliss Baby Charter accreditation for its family-centred care for premature and sick babies.
“To be the first unit in the country to receive this award is a real achievement of which we are all immensely proud”
The “charter” was developed by Bliss to help hospitals caring for premature and sick babies to assess the quality of neonatal care they provide and identify areas for improvement.
The charity said it provided it with a way to “recognise and reward” excellence, with a specific focus on the delivery of consistent high quality family-centred care that recognised the vital hands-on role of parents.
Extensive research has shown that putting families at the heart of their baby’s care was hugely beneficial to infants, parents and staff, the charity said.
For health professionals, it suggested it could help improve relations between parents and staff, as well as freeing up nursing time, increasing productivity and boosting staff morale.
In a ceremony today, Bliss chief executive Caroline Davey presented staff with a plaque and certificate marking their achievement, which follows a two-year process of audit, action and evaluation.
“I am delighted to recognise the ongoing dedication of staff on this neonatal unit to putting babies and their families at the heart of everything they do,” she said.
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“Their approach has won them the first-ever Bliss Baby Charter accreditation but, more importantly, is making a vital difference every single day to all the babies they care for, as well as their parents and families,” said Ms Davey.
She added: “I look forward to seeing other neonatal units around the country follow the example of the Princess Anne Hospital in achieving this mark of excellence.”
Lisa Leppard, family care sister on the neonatal unit at the Princess Anne Hospital, said: “We are passionate about the care our babies and families receive and to be the first unit in the country to receive this award is a real achievement of which we are all immensely proud.”
She highlighted that the accreditation scheme had helped the unit’s team to focus on the care it provided to families, as well as babies, leading it to make improvements necessary to provide the “highest standards of family-centred care”.