The National Breastfeeding Helpline Evaluation report

D.1 Government representatives discussion guide

Page last updated: 13 February 2013

Discussion guide – government representatives

Project to evaluate the National Breastfeeding Helpline

The Allen Consulting Group has been commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to conduct an evaluation of the National Breastfeeding Helpline. The evaluation is considering the effectiveness of the Helpline in meeting its objectives of providing information and support to mothers and their families. The evaluation is being conducted in consultation with the Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

An important part of the evaluation is obtaining the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders to provide insights into the needs of mothers and their families, and the current policy and service context in which the Helpline operates. To this end, the evaluation is canvassing the views of the users and providers of the National Breastfeeding Helpline service, young mothers from groups with lower rates of breastfeeding, governments and professional associations.

The National Breastfeeding Helpline

The Helpline is a toll free 24-hour, 7-day a week, telephone helpline run by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and staffed by volunteer counsellors. It commenced operation in October 2008 and aims to:

Support breastfeeding initiation and duration;

Improve national access and equity of access to quality breastfeeding information and support with a particular focus on priority population groups; and

Provide a nationally accessible source of information for women, partners and families to support decision making in relation to breastfeeding.

The 24-hour Helpline is part of the implementation of the Australian Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015, with particular relevance to the area of ‘continuity of care, referral pathways and support networks’.

Discussion questions

The following questions provide a guide for discussion.

Do you have any interaction with, or knowledge of the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s National Breastfeeding Helpline?

How is the National Breastfeeding Helpline integrated with the broader service system for maternal and child health in your jurisdiction? For example, do relevant services provided or funded by your jurisdiction promote the National Breastfeeding Helpline?

What role do you think the National Breastfeeding Helpline plays in meeting the needs of mothers and their families?

Do you think there is a need for a dedicated, 24-hour telephone helpline to support breastfeeding?

How accessible do you think the National Breastfeeding Helpline is to priority population groups, such as young mothers, mothers with a disability, Indigenous Australian mothers, mothers with a culturally and linguistically diverse background?

What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the National Breastfeeding Helpline?

In your view, how relevant are the Australian Breastfeeding Association education and training opportunities to the wider health professionals service system and workforce in your jurisdiction? Are these opportunities being taken up?