Family nurses could soon be extending the amount of support they give to young parents under proposals being brought forward by the government.
Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon is keen to expand the reach of the Family Nurse Partnership, which see family nurses provide support to first-time mums under the age of 20.
Currently, nurses give tips on the likes of breastfeeding, parenting skills, diet, health, child development and also assist mothers who may want to get back into education or employment.
The nurses pay the clients a visit every one or two weeks during pregnancy and then at intervals throughout the baby’s first two years.
Ms Sturgeon wants the NHS boards to identify more areas that would benefit from FNP, with the aim of the initiative being expanded between now and the end of 2013.
Speaking at an FNP conference in Edinburgh, she said FNP will be expanded in Scotland and will include a new health board to serve Glasgow. FNP is currently operating in NHS Lothian and NHS Tayside and is supporting around 440 people.
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.”