Caring in the early years

Organisation/institution: Collaborating with BCUHB and Public Health Wales

Key contact: Lucy Bryning, CHEME, Bangor University, email l.bryning@bangor.ac.uk

What was the question that we could help with?

Current low breastfeeding rates in Wales (less than 10% of babies) are a substantial public health concern, which result in preventable health care spending and avoidable infant deaths. If breastfeeding rates were increased at 4 months to the rates observed at birth, this could save the NHS in Wales up to £1.5 million per year. Wales currently invests in the ‘Baby Friendly Initiative’ (BFI) which, at £110,000 annually, is considered a model for assessing the quality assurance of breastfeeding support in Wales.

What did we do?

Public Health Wales has recently undertaken a review of the evidence and options for assessing the quality of breastfeeding support in Wales including, continuing investment in BFI; amending the BFI approach with emphasis on moving from a local focus to a Wales wide approach; or developing a new approach with a view to disinvesting in BFI quality assurance approach in the long-term. As part of this review Lucy Bryning was able to provide health economics expertise to help inform an independent panel of stakeholders to appraise the options.

What was the impact?

The launch of the local Health Board infant feeding strategic plan saw service users, public sector professionals and academics come together to discuss how co-production was essential to support families and children in North Wales achieve the best start in life.

Lucy Bryning