Shepway Green Party urges KCC rethink on breastfeeding

August 3, 2017

Shepway Green Party is urging people to tell KCC to rethink proposals to cut services to support breastfeeding across the county. The council has recently gone out with a consultation, that runs to 2nd September, about a radical change to the way breastfeeding is supported in Kent. It would move the focus onto already over-stretched health visitors, removing the current dedicated support network of mum-to-mum breastfeeding groups run by trained peer support volunteers. At present there are 17 open access drop-in clinics but these would be replaced with four booking clinics that would need a referral. KCC is seeking to save £404,000 per year from the changes.

“These would be such false savings,” says Green Party KCC councillor, Martin Whybrow. “Breastfeeding protects babies from infection and improves their mental and physical development and yet the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. We need to do everything to encourage it, not make it harder for mothers to access the support they need, when they need and where they need it. There is an excellent support network at present in Kent which should be nurtured and expanded, not taken away.”

Martin has met with the current provider, PSB, and spoken to volunteer mums. He will join a demonstration outside County Hall in Maidstone next Wednesday at 11am. Under the new proposals, any mothers with problems will be referred back to midwifery in the first ten days after birth and then to the health visitor service but, reflecting the need for specialist support, midwives and health visitors are a common source of referral to the current service.

In Shepway, there are mum-to-mum support groups across the district’s children’s centres, a lot of support outside normal working hours, consistently high numbers of mothers accessing the support, and a huge amount of volunteer time over and above the paid hours.

To responde to the consultation, click here: http://consultations.kent.gov.uk/…/InfantF…/consultationHome

To understand the issues, this is an excellent site put together by volunteers: http://www.keepkentbreastfeeding.org/

 

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