According to a new report, more than 7,000 young mothers and their newborns across Scotland have received support through the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP), led by specially trained nurses and midwives.
Launched as a pilot in NHS Lothian in 2010 by the SNP Government and rolled out to NHS Ayrshire and Arran in 2013, the FNP is an intensive, two-and-a-half year home visiting programme for first-time mothers aged 19 and under, as well as vulnerable 20-24 year olds.
Family nurses support young mothers with their mental health and confidence, as well as issues such as housing, education and employment to give their baby the best possible start in life.
This support helps meet the FNP’s three key goals; improved pregnancy and birth outcomes, through better prenatal health behaviours; improved child health and development, through positive, responsive caregiving; and increased economic self-sufficiency of the family, through developing a vision and plans for the future.
There are currently more than 200 family nurses delivering the programme across 11 health boards. The report found that 82% of eligible mothers have taken part.
Public Health Minister, Joe FitzPatrick MSP said:
“This is an excellent example of the vital role nurses and midwives play in our communities.
“This initiative has helped thousands of young mothers build the confidence and skills they need to provide the right support for their baby.
“Together with the introduction of the baby box, this programme supports our vision that every child in Scotland is given the best possible start in life, with and mothers receiving the right care and support.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This is an initiative I pressed for strongly prior to its introduction and I’m delighted that this evaluation, published 10 years after the SNP Government first brought forward the FNP as a policy, has confirmed the positive impact such targeted support can have.
“Not only do Family Nurses help guarantee the cognitive and physical development of children in the first two-and-a-half years of their lives, they also provide invaluable support to young mums at what can be a very challenging time in their lives.
“Our focus now should be on ensuring that every eligible mother across Scotland is encouraged to take part.”
The full report can be viewed here.