Family Nurse Partnership to be extended

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The Family Nurse Partnership is to be extended to provide support to 16,000 of the most disadvantaged new mothers and fathers in England by 2015.

According to the Department of Health, around 11,000 families are already benefiting from the Family Nurse Partnership Programme, which is offered to first time mothers under the age of 20 from early pregnancy until their baby is two years old.

As part of the programme, a specifically trained family nurse visits the mother regularly, helping them to care for their new baby, build a relationship, psychologically prepare for parenthood and help families adopt healthier lifestyles.

The extension of the Family Nurse Partnership programme will give more young and disadvantaged mothers one-to-one support to bring up their babies.

The announcement comes ahead of the news that a new national unit made up of three organisations will lead delivery of the Family Nurse Partnership across England.

The three organisations - Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, the Impetus Trust and the Social Research Unit at Dartington in Devon - will work in partnership with the NHS Commissioning Board and be responsible for national leadership, strategic development and governance as well as education and coaching of family nurses and supervisors.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter (pictured right) said, ‘Every child should have the opportunity to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Family Nurse Partnership plays a major role in supporting children in some of the most disadvantaged circumstances to have the very best start in life.

‘Earlier this year, the Government in partnership with organizations in healthcare, local government and voluntary and charity sector pledged to work together to improve children’s health. Expanding the Family Nurse Partnership programme is just one of the things the government is doing to give some of the most vulnerable children the vital support they need in their early years of life.’

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the charity NCT, said, ‘The Family Nurse Partnership programme will play a pivotal role in improving continuity of care for new parents. Parents have different needs and it is easy for problems and worries to be missed.

‘Having a specially trained family nurse will give vulnerable families the support they need during the first 1,000 days, giving children the best possible start in life.’

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