Re-starting and developing support services

NCT and the Breastfeeding Network, in collaboration with an alliance of supporting organisations and in consultation with Public Health England, have developed a guide to re-starting support services for expectant and new parents during Covid-19. 

Support for new and expectant parents is provided by a wide range of organisations and charities. The sector is diverse and includes voluntary, statutory and private organisations, qualified independent practitioners, as well as funders and commissioners of services.  

This guide has been developed to support organisations and individuals who provide structured support for pregnant people and new parents of children under the age of two during COVID-19 and throughout the easing of restrictions. The guide is for organisations and individuals working to restart their face-to-face services, as well as those wishing to deliver a face-to-face service for the first time. 

The guide is advisory and provides best practice principles to help organisations deliver face-to-face support to new and expectant parents in the context of Covid-19.  

It covers considerations for delivering support for new and expectant parents in five different formats:  

  • Outdoor meetings  
  • In-venue 1:1 support  
  • In-venue group support
  • Home visits  
  • Support in healthcare settings.  

It also covers general principles for delivering support, including:  

  • Understanding risk, undertaking risk assessments and developing safe operating procedures   
  • Support and communication for those involved in delivering the service 
  • Group sizes and social distancing   
  • COVID-secure venues   
  • Face-coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE)   
  • Managing timing and schedules   
  • Travel to and from support settings   
  • Managing incidents   
  • Information about the NHS Test and Trace service.  

The guide was created in consultation with Public Health England to ensure it reflects government guidelines. Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, please consult https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus for any updates on the appropriate guidance. 

The guide is intended to support the sector’s response as restrictions change. The core content of the guide focuses on key principles and considerations for delivering support that should remain relevant even as the government guidance and specific restrictions evolve. However, we expect that it will need to be updated from time to time, particularly as restrictions ease. You can find the version number and date on the first page of the document. If you have any feedback, please do get in touch with the writing team via NCT Enquiries (enquiries@nct.org.uk). 

This guide is only intended for use in England, as it was developed through consultation with PHE, and it would require further input to be applicable to other nations in the UK. However, we anticipate that the principles and considerations outlined in this guide will be helpful to organisations across the UK and Channel Islands.