The consultation, originally launched on 18th July, has been reviewed and relaunched as outlined in Paul Carter’s statement posted on the Kent County Council consultation page on 4 August.

 www.kent.gov.uk/infantfeeding

 

PSBreastfeeding Community Interest Company (CIC) was awarded the current Kent Community Infant Feeding contract after bidding successfully in 2014.  As the 3 year contract comes to an end, Kent County Council propose to transfer all community infant feeding services to the Health Visiting Service.

You will be able to read about the changes that are being proposed and give your feedback to Kent County Council until midnight on Sunday December 3rd.

You can provide feedback online at www.kent.gov.uk/infantfeeding
OR
You can provide written feedback at your local Children’s Centre or Breastfeeding Group

On the Kent County Council website you will find the following documents to download and read –

Revised Consultation Document 23/10/17 – providing background around the current services and details of the proposed changes

Frequently Asked Questions 23/10/17 – Responses to some of the questions asked by families in the original July/August consultation

Supplementary Information 23/10/17 – Additional information provided about the proposed changes

Consultation Questionnaire 23/10/17 – A paper copy of the questions to complete when responding to the consultation

Summary Information Sheet 23/10/17 – KCC has provided a summary of the proposed changes

Equality Analysis and Impact Assessment 23/10/17

Kent County Council welcomes your feedback on the proposed changes, so please take some time to read the above documents and respond to the questionnaire in the way you find easiest.

Kent County Council welcomes communication by phone and email if there is any part of the documents that you do not understand or need any clarification on.

Please encourage your family and friends to respond to this consultation if they have accessed services, if they haven’t accessed services, or if they may need to access services in the future.  If you feel passionately about the changes, speak to your local representatives.  Talk to your local Children’s Centres, Health Visitors and Breastfeeding Peer Supporters and Specialists if you feel that this would help you respond with greater knowledge of current and future services.

PSBreastfeeding CIC has created a summary of the main changes that have been proposed that will have the greatest impact on families in Kent –

“We are proposing that PS Breastfeeding CIC are not recommissioned at the end of their contract (March 2018) and that the NHS-run Kent Health Visiting Service take over the responsibility for the provision of all breastfeeding support and advice, including intermediate and specialist support”

 “It is proposed that initially there will be at least 4 Specialist clinics each week across Kent.  This will involve one clinic in each of the following areas; East Kent (Maidstone, Swale and Canterbury), West Kent (Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Malling and Ashford), North Kent (Dartford, Gravesham and Sevenoaks) and Kent Coastal (Shepway, Dover, Deal and Thanet).”

“It is proposed that at least 6 slots per clinic will be available, with the length of appointments (and therefore total number) dependent on the issues women are being seen with.”

PSBreastfeeding CIC currently provides 17 drop-in breastfeeding clinics across Kent each week (at least 1 per District/Borough).  Each clinic has a Lactation Consultant or Breastfeeding Councillor (or both) available.  No appointment is necessary, no referral is necessary, and all families are welcome at any service throughout Kent.  We have made sure that each and every clinic is safe for older siblings to attend as we have received feedback in the past that this was important.  Clinics run 5 days per week and run throughout the school holidays if the Children’s Centre is open.  Families are encouraged to come as many times as they feel they need or want to.  Each clinic is supported by volunteer Breastfeeding Peer Supporters.

PSBreastfeeding CIC has provided more bookable services in the past, but found that although a drop-in service is more cost effective, it also has great benefits too –

  • Families with new infants often find it more challenging getting out of the house on time.
  • Responsive feeding means that often babies are not hungry when we need them to be, so having the opportunity to stay longer at the clinic to wait for baby to wake up means we are better able to assess feeding.
  • The specialists are able to move between families to assess and support families at the best time for them without wasting time.  The family receives more appropriate time from the specialist in this way.
  • Families receive support from volunteer breastfeeding peer supporters, specialists, Children’s Centre staff and the other families in the room.  The lived experience can be so reassuring for new families.
  • If a family has a challenging night or a problem in the morning they can just go to see someone.  They do not need to ask permission or wait for an available appointment.
  • No time is wasted due to cancelled or missed appointments.
  • In areas of greater need, we have added more specialist support in the form of an additional body in an existing clinic or by starting a new clinic in a different location.
  • We found that 30-45 minutes would be the average amount of time needed for an appointment.  Let’s look at North Kent (Sevenoaks, Dartford and Gravesham) as an area that will share a clinic every week in the proposed model.  In July 2017 there were 124 visits to a specialist clinic, in August 2017 there were 140 visits, and in September 2017 there were 142 visits.  That’s over 31 appointments every week (at least 15.5-23 hours of clinic time).

“In addition (to Child Health Clinics) there is a duty telephone line where feeding concerns can be raised, which is available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm”

PSBreastfeeding CIC currently provides a number of way for families and health professionals to contact a Lactation Consultant outside of the breastfeeding clinics.  Families can speak to a Lactation Consultant by calling a central phone number 7 days a week, private messaging with a Lactation Consultant through the Kent Baby Matters Facebook page 7 days a week, and A Lactation Consultant can also be reached through the website 7 days a week.  Families are also provided with paperwork to share with their health professionals during a consultation with a Lactation Consultant or Breastfeeding Counsellor which has a contact number on for follow-up if needed.

The Kent Baby Matters website and Facebook Page will not be remaining under the proposed changes.  These are places where all community breastfeeding services are currently listed and updated regularly.