Child health programme to be extended


A US-inspired initiative which helps young parents give their children a healthier start in life is to be introduced in a further five health board areas, including Glasgow, by the end of 2013.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon is asking NHS boards to identify further localities that would likely benefit from the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) programme, which provides support for first-time mums under the age of 20.

She made the announcement as a FNP conference was held in Edinburgh today.

Under the initiative - which is already supporting 440 clients in NHS Lothian and NHS Tayside - family nurses visit expectant mums every one or two weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of their baby's life, offering guidance on child development, preventative health measures, parenting skills, breastfeeding, better diet information and support for mothers looking to continue in education and employment.

Ms Sturgeon said:

"Intervening at the earliest possible opportunity to support those in our society who are most in need is the key to improving Scotland's health. That's why the Family Nurse Partnership is an exciting opportunity for health boards in Scotland.

"I have seen for myself how the FNP is making a valuable difference to the lives of families. The programme is helping to give children healthier and happier futures, working with young families to improve prenatal health and reduce child neglect.

"We want to see the kind of support that the FNP provides expanded in Scotland with the capacity to reach three times as many clients over the next two years. That's why we will put the resources in place to support implementation of the FNP in five new boards, including Scotland's largest city Glasgow, between now and the end of 2013."