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Family nurse initiative for young mothers extended

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Junior health minister Ann Keen has announced £30m to extend a health visiting scheme for young mothers for the next three years.

Currently there are 10 Family Nurse Partnership Programme (FNPP) pilot sites in England, which began six months ago.

It will be up to PCTs to decide whether some of the money is used to train extra health visitors to deliver the extended programme. But NT understands the funding it will not be spent on the national health visitor workforce.

Ms Keen, speaking at the Unite/CHPHA annual conference in Torquay, acknowledged there was a shortage of health visitors.

She urged PCTs to ensure they had the right workforce in place to ensure they can deliver all of the appropriate services.

She also said the government accepted and agreed with the nine recommendations in Facing the Future – the review of health visiting which went out for consultation in June.

The review said health visitors should lead multi-skilled teams to target the most vulnerable members of society, making the service less universal.

Unite/CPHVA Kevin Coyne, head of health, said: ‘We welcome the commitment to health visiting. We are concerned, however, about the £30m in the sense that no details were given about whether it is to protect the existing workforce or to develop new projects.

‘We believe it [the government] should be spending money on both,’ he said.

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