Boosting education for Norfolk’s parents
Sustain was drafted in to support health professionals in Norfolk to develop a new education programme to help up to 4,000 parents every year to give their babies the best possible start in life.
Made possible thanks to funding secured from NHS England by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, the project saw Sustain work with health visitors, midwives and children’s centre teams to develop a Norfolk-wide programme which will be offered universally to all first-time mums and dads.
Parent education has traditionally been carried out by midwives. However, it became clear that mothers were receiving inconsistent information from different maternity services across the county.
As part of this project, responsibility for education would shift to health visitors and be hosted by children’s centres – a fundamental shift from practice which had been in place for decades.
The team worked closely together and jointly embraced the challenge, showing great enthusiasm and reaching early agreement on the course structure and how it would be organised. Consensus then reached on the course content, which will:
Outcomes and achievements
- be led by health visitors and hosted by children’s centres
- actively involve the midwifery service
- consist of four sessions, each lasting two hours, covering subjects such as feeding and caring for babies, family health and wellbeing, changes to expect and the birth itself
- signpost mothers to other courses which will further help them prepare for motherhood, such as breastfeeding workshops and multiple birth classes
- have the capacity to be offered to 4,000 newly pregnant mums-to-be each year
- provide consistent and standardised content, regardless of where in Norfolk it is delivered
The group’s dedication and enthusiasm played a key role in helping develop a bespoke, high quality Norfolk programme which demonstrates the NHS and local authority working effectively together in partnership to improve services for mothers and families in Norfolk.
The success of this project has clearly demonstrated what can be achieved when multi-professional barriers are broken down and teams work collaboratively to develop joint services for women and their families.
A pilot project is planned for later in the year, with feedback from mums-to-be used to further improve and modify the course content wherever necessary.