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Determining local service levels for a peer-support programme for women who breastfeed

Benchmarks for a standard population

Available data suggest that the standard benchmark rate for women who breastfeed taking up the offer of peer support is estimated to be 85% per year.

For an average primary care trust (PCT) population of 300,000, assuming the same maternity rate as the national average (50 per 1000 women aged 15-49) of whom 80% initiate breastfeeding, the number requiring peer support is estimated to be 2500 per year (85% of women who initiate breastfeeding).

For an average PCT the number of peer supporters required for an effective peer-support programme would be around 10 whole-time equivalents.

For an average general practice with a list size of 10,000, assuming the same maternity rate as the national average (50 per 1000 women aged 15-49) of whom 80% initiate breastfeeding, the number of women requiring peer support is estimated to be around 80 per year (85% of women who initiate breastfeeding).

For an average general practice the number of peer supporters required for an effective peer-support programme would be around 0.3 of a whole-time equivalent.

The benchmark is based on breastfeeding initiation rates and has not taken into account breastfeeding peer support that may be offered to women in the antenatal period. It is anticipated that less intensive support is required during the antenatal period.

National data on the number of maternities are not available at general practice level, so delivery data have been used within the associated commissioning and benchmarking tool as a proxy for maternity data. The delivery data presented in the tool have been aggregated so that women who deliver outside their primary care organisation (PCO) area are counted against the PCO of the referring GP. This is to ensure that, as far as possible, delivery data and maternity data are comparable. Numbers of maternities by PCO are available here.

Examine the assumptions used in estimating these figures.

Peer-support programmes for women who breastfeed are likely to fall under the programme budgeting category 218X (maternity and reproductive health).

Use the peer-support programme commissioning and benchmarking tool within this guide to determine the level of service that might be needed locally and to calculate the cost of commissioning the service using the indicative benchmark and/or your own local data.

Further information

Sources of further information to help you assess local health needs and reduce health inequalities include:

This page was last updated: 02 March 2012

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.