Scottish Government
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Edinburgh a world leader on family nurse partnership

City becomes first across the globe to offer innovative programme to all women.

Edinburgh has become the first city in the world to offer the family nurse partnership programme to all eligible women after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the service is to continue on a sustained basis.

Speaking at a reception to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the scheme for first-time mothers, the First Minister said since its launch, the programme had provided support, advice to 660 young women across NHS Lothian, with an average take-up rate of 81 per cent among the eligible group.

Addressing the event at Edinburgh Castle, the First Minister – who launched the pilot programme in NHS Lothian in 2010 – confirmed that the resources and staffing were now in place for every eligible young mother in the city to be offered a place on the programme.

Ms Sturgeon said the positive experience in NHS Lothian was now being replicated across Scotland with teams already in place across eight health board areas – Lothian, Tayside, Fife, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Ayrshire and Arran, Forth Valley and Lanarkshire – and plans for expansion into Borders and Grampian later this year.

The First Minister said:

“It’s now 5 years since the Family Nurse Partnership pilot project was established in Lothian. In that time it has been such a success that it now operates in seven other health board areas across the country. It will be established in two more – Grampian and Borders – over the course of the summer.

“In total, more than 2,000 mothers have already benefited from the programme – more than 600 of them here in Lothian.

“It’s one of the best investments we can make as a society – we give young mothers the support they need, we help children to get the best possible start in life, and we reduce public spending further down the line, because we have better health, education and employment outcomes.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce today that Edinburgh has become the first city anywhere in the world, to offer the family nurse partnership to every first-time mother aged 19 and under. That will make a huge difference to mothers and children across the city, and it’s a testament to the success of the partnership so far.”

Kate Billingham, Senior Adviser at Nurse Family Partnership International said: 

“On behalf of the programme's founder, Prof David Olds I congratulate Scotland and all they have achieved for young parents and their children. 

“To have the first city in the world to reach 100 per cent coverage for teenage mums - along with high levels of quality - is an amazing achievement. Today we are recognising the leadership in Scotland, the skilled and dedicated nurses and the parents who have worked hard for their children and their own futures.”

Melanie Johnson, Executive Nurse Director, NHS Lothian, said:

"We are particularly pleased and proud in NHS Lothian that Edinburgh has become the first city in the world to be able to offer care to every client who requires it under the Family Nurse Partnership.

"The service first began as a pilot project in January 2010 in Edinburgh and since then it has gone from strength to strength. It has also made a real and lasting impact after it was rolled out across the rest of Lothian and also Scotland.

"We are honoured that the First Minister attended our event because she was at the first launch event in 2010 and was able to meet some of the original parents, who were the first to graduate from the service, and their children, most of whom will start school in the summer."

Notes To Editors

The Family Nurse Partnership programme is an intensive, preventive, one-to-one home visiting programme for young, first time mothers from early pregnancy until their child reaches two. It was developed in America, by Prof David Olds, and is delivered in this country under licence. Scottish Ministers hold the licence.

Its main aims are to improve pregnancy outcomes, child health and development and the economic self-sufficiency of the family. Family Nurse Partnership aims to introduce a new approach to nursing, working with the parent to help them build up their own skills and resources to parent their child well, but also to think about their own future aspirations.

Over 35 years of rigorous research has shown significant benefits young mothers and their children in the short, medium and long term across a wide range of outcomes including:-

Improved early language development and academic achievement; improvements in antenatal health; reductions in children’s injuries, neglect and abuse; improved parenting practices and behaviour; fewer subsequent pregnancies and greater intervals between births; increased maternal employment and reduced welfare use; increases in fathers’ involvement; reduced arrests and criminal behaviour for both children and mothers.

Further information on the Family Nurse Partnership scheme in NHS Lothian can be found here –

Further information about the wider programme can be found here –


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