A dedicated team of nurses has been recruited for the Family Nurse Partnership programme in NHS Lothian, a service aimed at providing healthcare and support to first-time, teenage parents in the city of Edinburgh.
NHS Lothian, through the Edinburgh Community Health Partnership, will test the innovative service, the first of its kind in Scotland, to help provide a better, healthier start for children.
Highly trained, specialist nurses, including six family nurses and one family nurse supervisor will help first-time, teenage parents providing frequent, personal home visits during pregnancy and for the first two years of the baby’s life.
Melanie Hornett, Director of Nursing, NHS Lothian said: “We are delighted to be leading this innovative project in Scotland. The programme is about helping to build on the strengths of young mums encouraging them to focus on their own wellbeing and that of their child. We know that all mums and dads want to be the best parents they can. Providing help early on will give them and their children the best possible outcome in terms of improved healthcare and child development, as well as helping them to make effective use of other services and plan for their family’s future.”
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “It’s great that the nursing team is now in place as it means that the first young women and their babies can start to benefit from this innovative project.
“I am very excited about the Family Nurse Partnership being launched in Scotland. It has had a huge success in the USA and I am confident that it will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of the women involved and their families.
“I am following the progress of this project closely and look forward to seeing the positive impact that I am sure it will have.”
Val Alexander, Family Nurse Partnership supervisor, NHS Lothian said: “We are excited at the prospect of this project being undertaken in Edinburgh. Our nurses have undertaken specialist training and the team has been working hard in readiness of the first mums and parents joining the project.”
Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, Convener for Education, Children and Families, at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We are really exited to be working in partnership on this innovative and hugely welcome project. The scheme will offer first-class services to young mums and their babies, making a real difference to their self-esteem and wellbeing. And giving these children the start in life which will hopefully avoid them struggling later on.”
Family Nurse Partnership nurses will offer guidance on breastfeeding, child development, parenting skills, future pregnancy planning, preventive health measures such as help with alcohol or cigarette dependency, better diet information, advice on better financial planning and advice for mothers wanting to go back to education or employment.
Nicola Sturgeon announced the project last year following a visit to a similar scheme, the Nurse Family Partnership in Harlem, New York set up by Professor David Olds, Professor of Paediatrics and Director, Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health University of Colorado.
The new nursing team will start seeing first-time teenage parents from the end of this month.
Note to editors
The Family Nurse Partnership is targeted at first time mothers aged 19 and under at their last menstrual period.
The Family Nurse Partnership is funded by the Scottish Government.
The Department of Health which has been testing the Family Nurse Partnership model in around 50 sites in almost a third of Primary Care Trusts/Local Authorities sites across England is providing support and guidance to the Family Nurse Partnership pilot project in Scotland.