A planned £30m expansion of an initiative to help equip young people with parenting schools will help many more vulnerable families, Health Minister Ann Keen announced yesterday.
The Family Nurse Partnership initiative is testing nurse-led home visits for vulnerable first time young parents.
The scheme is already being tested in 10 areas in England where family nurses visit young disadvantaged parents from early pregnancy until the child is two years old.
Health Minister Ann Keen (pictured) said at the CPHVA annual professional conference yesterday that the extra £30m investment will "give more PCTs and local authorities the opportunity to use the programme, build the UK evidence base, and make sure that leaning is shared across universal services."
She adds: "The programme is proving popular and is taken up by 90% of the hard to reach families that it is offered to. It has also been welcomed by health visitors and midwives who are seeing positive changes take place in behaviour, relationships and wellbeing."
However, Health Visitor union Amicus/CPHVA say they believe the health visiting service should be avialble to all, not just the most vulnerable 2% of the population.
"We believe that the minister, Ann Keen has shown some understanding of the complex crisis facing health visitors – but we also believe that there are ways this strategy can be improved," they said.
"Unite/CPHVA wishes to work with government to meet its family-orientated goals – but the resources need to be made available. Last week, we asked for 4,000 more health visitors to achieve some of these goals.
"This government has called for 3,500 extra cognitive behavioural therapists.
"If a fully resourced health visiting service had been in place, offering early intervention to all families, then the need for such therapists would diminish."