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06 July 2009
A major University trial to assess whether a flagship English project is improving the health and well-being of teenage mothers and their children has recruited its first participant.
Researchers from the South East Wales Trials Unit (SEWTU), School of Medicine, successfully bid to undertake the £4M ‘Building Blocks’ evaluation, which aims to recruit 2400 participants in 18 sites across England of expectant mothers aged 19 or under.
The trial assesses the Family Nurse Partnership programme run by the Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families in England.
The programme offers support to vulnerable young parents from early pregnancy until the child is two years old. The programme is delivered by specially trained nurses drawn mainly from health visiting and midwifery backgrounds, and is designed to improve the health and well-being of both the child and mother during pregnancy, at birth and in early childhood in comparison to standard universal services.
Associate Director of the South East Wales Trials Unit (SEWTU) and Chief Investigator, Dr Mike Robling said: "The recruitment of our first participant is an important milestone in the trial.
"Since SEWTU led its successful £4 million bid to evaluate the Family Nurse Partnership programme we have been busy rolling out the study and the recruitment of volunteers is an essential part of that process. We hope that many other mothers will soon follow suit.
"As we follow our participants through the Family Nurse Partnership programme over the next two years, it will enable us to assess whether the programme is effective in improving the health and well-being of both the child and mother during pregnancy."
The study is funded by the Department of Health and will run until January 2013. Not only will the trial aim to demonstrate whether the programme is effective, it will also consider the cost of the programme in relation to the benefits that it produces.
The South East Wales Trials Unit is led by Dr Kerenza Hood and funded by the Wales Office of Research and Development (WORD). It draws together existing expertise in trials and other well designed multi-centre studies to form an experienced team to support excellence in Wales.
Since its inception, the Unit has led studies in areas such as infections, behaviour change, and children and young people - in both UK and European-wide studies. It is also one of only three clinical trial units in Wales showcased on the new website, UKCRC Registered Clinical Trials Units, which lists the UK’s foremost clinical trials expertise.
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