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Southampton hospital first to be honoured for family-friendly neonatal care

We’re really excited to announce that the neonatal intensive care unit at Southampton’s Princess Anne Hospital has become the first in the UK to gain official Bliss Baby Charter accreditation for its family-centred care for premature and sick babies.

Reanna Watts, Senior Project Officer at Bliss, explains why this is such big news, and why family-centred care is so important for babies and their families:

What is family centred-care?

To put it simply, family-centred care is about involving families in the care of their own babies while they are in hospital. It involves doctors and nurses helping families to provide care for their babies, where possible, and helping parents make informed decisions about their baby’s care.

Kangaroo care and skin-to-skin contact are great examples of family-centred care. By holding their baby, parents can provide babies a reassuring and soothing touch during their hospital stay. It’s also a really nice way for parents to bond with their baby by getting to know their needs.

Family-centred care is really important and there are lots of proven benefits for both babies and families. It can lower a baby’s stress level, promote better health, shorten hospital stays and reduce re-admissions. It can also boost parental confidence and strengthen relationships between hospital staff and parents.

What is the Bliss Baby Charter accreditation?

We created the Bliss Baby Charter to help neonatal units make sure they provide the best possible family-centred care because it is so vital to babies’ care and long term development.

The Baby Charter sets out standards for neonatal units to work towards, involving parents in the care of their babies. Once we’ve assessed units to make sure they are working towards these standards, they receive accreditation from Bliss to show they are delivering high quality family-centred care.

Lisa Leppard, from Princess Anne hospital and Reanna Watts, Senior Project Officer at Bliss

We’re delighted that the neonatal unit at Southampton’s Princess Anne Hospital has become the first in the country to receive this. It is a fantastic achievement and we are hoping to accredit more neonatal units in the coming months.

Can I get involved?

Absolutely! We rely on Volunteer Assessors to visit and assess neonatal units who are taking part in the accreditation process. Whether you are a parent of a premature or sick baby, a health professional or anyone else with an extensive neonatal experience, you could get involved. For more information, visit


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