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The Family Nurse Partnership

Dr M Robling (PI), Butler, Kemp, Kenkre, Montgomery, Pickett, Torgerson, Bekkers, Bowles, Buckley, Channon, Gregory, Hawthorne, Hay, Hood, Lowes (SONMS), Moore, Owen-Jones, Richardson, Sanders, Simpson, Taylor, Wainwright and Wye. 

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a licensed structured programme of home visits for
first time mothers that has been developed in the US, where it is known as the Nurse Family
Partnership programme. The visits are delivered by specially trained nurses called Family
Nurses who are drawn mainly from health visiting and midwifery. A pilot programme
involving ten sites in England was successfully evaluated in the first year suggesting that the
programme can be successfully delivered in an English context. However, there remains a
lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of FNP in England compared with usual services.
The Department of Health in England has commissioned a randomised controlled trial to
generate such evidence about the benefits and costs of the programme. In addition to the
research trial the DH is funding FNP programme delivery in your PCT/Local Authority.

The South East Wales Trials Unit at Cardiff University and other collaborators are undertaking
the trial to compare FNP with usual services across 18 Primary Care Trust /Local Authority
sites across England. The study aims to recruit 2,400 pregnant first-time mothers from April
2009. In the trial, half of the women will be randomised to receive routine care from maternity
services plus FNP and half will be randomised to receive routine care from maternity and
child health services.

The trial will involve many professionals from across disciplines, in particular midwives who
may be involved in the identification of eligible women; our researchers employed locally to
recruit women and collect data and Family Nurses who will be delivering the programme.

Recruitment of women is expected to take eight months with all participants being followed up
until their child’s second birthday. Final results from this study will be reported at the start of
2013, although early findings will be available before then. 

Funding

Department of Health - £3,999,556