National milk bank association: UK Association for Milk Banking (established in 1997)
National guidelines: Clinical Guideline 93; Donor Milk Banks; Service Operation
published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2010. Available to download, together with additional tools and resources, from http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG93
Milk banks have been operational in the UK for more than 80 years. The first was established in West London after the provision of donated breastmilk to a set of quadruplets born in the mid 1930’s. Currently there are 15 throughout the UK of which 13 are in England. The single milk bank in Scotland, based in Glasgow, offers a nationwide service and a single bank also provides donor milk throughout Northern Ireland as well as to some hospital neonatal units in the Republic of Ireland. The 13 milk banks in England range in size from those that provide donor milk to a single neonatal unit to several that supply hospitals throughout a wide geographical area. The Hearts Milk Bank, part of the charitably funded Human Milk Foundation was established in 2016 as an independent organisation to support families with babies in or out of hospital for whom human milk will be of benefit. Overall, the number of neonatal units in the UK using donor milk is increasing and thanks to volunteer motorcyclists (better known as the ‘Blood Bikes’) the collection and delivery of donor human milk is achieved effectively and efficiently and without cost to the milk banks.