IMPORTANT UPDATE – 4 AUGUST 2017

CONSULTATION PLACED ON HOLD

We will post updates as they are published at 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 September 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
OR
You can send an email with questions about the consultation to PHconsultation@kent.gov.uk
(edited on 03/08/17 to reflect the KCC consultation website stating that responses should be done online or at the local Children’s Centre)

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

Primary Consultation Document – providing background around the current services and details of the proposed changes

Health Visiting Services Infant Feeding Support Model – A document provided by KCHFT (The company holding the current Health Visiting contract for Kent) describing how they propose to provide breastfeeding support across Kent.

Consultation Questionnaire – Use this document if you would like to provide feedback about the consultation by email or by post.

Consultation Equality Assessment – A document outlining the assessment completed by Kent County Council on the access of services based upon Age, Disability, Sex, Gender Identity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sexual Orientation, Pregnancy or Maternity, Marriage and Civil Partnership and Carer’s Responsibilities.

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.  As we move through this process, we will endeavour to ask our own questions and post the responses here for you to see.

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 –

“From 1st January, 2018 the Health Visiting Service (provided by Kent Community Health NHS Trust (KCHFT)) will deliver Community Infant Feeding Support”

PSBreastfeeding CIC currently delivers community infant feeding support across Kent.

“Baby Hubs will have a health visitor present alongside (INFANT FEEDING) peer supporters.  These are re-designed clinics with integrated breastfeeding support and health promotion activities” 3 locations are listed per District/Borough in Kent.

Breastfeeding Peer Supporters currently run 23 dedicated breastfeeding groups and also support Lactation Consultants and Breastfeeding Counsellors at 17 breastfeeding clinics every week across Kent.  Breastfeeding Peer Supporters are currently trained to support families in their breastfeeding journey through pregnancy and beyond.  They are trained to support infants who are breastfed, mixed fed or introducing a bottle for various reasons with a focus on supporting families in their breastfeeding journey.

Infant Feeding peer supporters OR Breastfeeding Peer Supporters?

PSBreastfeeding CIC challenged the contradictory information given in the consultation documents from KCC.  On the primary consultation document page 7 “Training and supervision for volunteer breastfeeding peer supporters”.  However, on the Questionnaire document Question 4b “Infant feeding Peer Supporters volunteers should continue to be trained and supervised”.  The response from KCC was that Infant Feeding Peer Supporter Volunteer was not an error.

Will dedicated Breastfeeding Groups exist in 2018?

PSBreastfeeding CIC challenged the contradictory information given in the consultation documents from KCC.  On the primary consultation document document page 7 “Baby Hubs”, “Each support session will have a health visitor present alongside peer supporters.  These are re-designed clinics with integrated breastfeeding support and health promotion activities”.  On the Health Visiting Services Infant Feeding Model Document page 2 “As part of the Child Health Clinic the Health Visiting Teams will provide additional breast feeding support sessions which will also be supported by Volunteer Breast feeding peer supporters”.  The response from KCC was that there will be Baby Hubs with a Health Visitor and Peer Supporter as described in the main consultation document, not breastfeeding groups.

 “Consultations will be on an appointment only basis, in response to a referral from a health professional which is based on clinical need”.  “Initially there will be four Lactation Consultant led clinics a week across Kent”.

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 January 2017 there were 109 visits to a specialist clinic, in February 2017 there were 131 visits, and in March 2017 there were 127 visits.  That’s over 28 appointments every week (at least 14-21 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.