Breastfeeding could cut GP visits and save NHS £40m a year

Increasing breastfeeding rates could save the NHS £40m and prevent over 54,000 GP consultations a year.

Breastfeeding: health services failing mothers and babies, says UNICEF
Breastfeeding: health services failing mothers and babies, says UNICEF

A study commissioned by UNICEF UK looked at the potential benefits of a moderate increase in breastfeeding rates.

Researchers estimated the potential benefits if 45% of women exclusively breastfed for four months and if 75% of babies in neonatal units were breastfed at discharge.

They calculated the impact of raising breastfeeding rates on GP consultation rates relating to gastrointestinal and lower respiratory tract infections and acute otitis media.

Just across these three disease areas, 54,000 fewer GP consultations would be needed if breastfeeding rates increased moderately, the researchers estimated.

UNICEF UK deputy executive director Anita Tiessen said: ‘As a society we are failing mothers and babies.

'We want to see breastfeeding recognised as a major public health issue from government level through to local children’s centres, and appropriate investment and legislation put in place to give mothers a better experience of breastfeeding.

‘The good news for commissioners is that our research shows that money invested to help women breastfeed for longer would provide a rapid financial return.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

NHS sign outside a building

PCN contract overhaul defers two-week appointment target until April 2023

NHS England has announced changes to the network contract DES, including deferring...


NHS sets out priorities for extra GP funding this winter

Integrated care boards could target extra funding for general practice at phone systems,...

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves

Labour promises to double medical school places with tax cut reversal

A Labour government would double medical school places with funding raised from reversing...

What is GP Connect?

GP Connect articles are provided and funded by a selection of GPonline's partners...

Gas meter

BMA and local NHS leaders scramble to support GPs facing rising costs

Spiralling energy costs have forced local NHS leaders to draw up emergency support...

Health and social care secretary and deputy prime minister Therese Coffey

What does the government's 'plan for patients' mean for general practice?

Health and social care secretary Therese Coffey has unveiled the government's new...