The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) will be expanded significantly so that eligible mothers in all parts of Scotland benefit from the programme.
By the end of 2018 up to 60 additional fully trained nurses will be recruited to deliver the programme, which sees young first time mothers benefiting from frequent one-to-one home visits from early pregnancy until their child’s second birthday.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement in Dundee, at an event to celebrate NHS Tayside having supported more than 1,000 women through the programme since 2011, with almost 500 graduated to date.
Through the FNP, highly trained nurses give a wide range of support to ensure the child gets the best possible start in life, with mothers encouraged to make positive decisions around their own behaviours and achieve their life goals.
The First Minister said:
“We want to make Scotland the best country in the world to grow up in. A key part of that is ensuring all children, regardless of background, have the best possible start in life.
“The Family Nurse Partnership has helped thousands of children and first-time mums across Scotland. Events, like this one in Dundee, demonstrate the positive impact that family nurses can have on the families they work with.
“We want to ensure every eligible mother can access this support, and the expansion of the programme will make that a reality.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“In the United States, Family Nurse Partnerships in place for years have been analysed and shown to deliver huge and tangible benefits to both mothers and their children.
“Mothers are more likely to bond with their children, enter the labour market and have long-term stable relationships.
“Children have greatly enhanced educational attainment, employment prospects and are much less likely to offend. I am delighted Family Nurse Partnerships will be rolled out across Scotland, including to Ayrshire.”
More than 4,500 young mothers have received the programme, with over 2,500 having graduated since 2010.
The expansion to ensure all eligiblefirst time mothers aged 19 and under can benefit will bring annual costs to around £16 million annually when fully rolled out by the end of next year. This is an additional investment of around £5.5 million, reflecting the cost of recruiting and training the nurses, and providing supervision and administrative support.