Nurses for teen parents

A pioneering programme to help teenage parents is being rolled out across Scotland, although there are currently no plans to launch it in the Borders.

The £11million Family Nurse Partnership, for first-time parents aged 19 and under, will be operating by 2015.

The programme is already running in Lothian, Tayside, Fife and Glasgow, and is expanding to Ayrshire and Arran, Lanarkshire and Highland in 2013. But there is no date so far on when it will start in the region.

An NHS Borders spokesperson said: “Within Borders we do have a very low teenage pregnancy rate and a very small number of these would be eligible for inclusion in the programme. This is why Borders, along with Dumfries and Galloway, and the island boards, are not included at this stage.

“The Scottish Government has assured us that they will take the lessons learned from the other (health) boards and adapt the programme for the more rural communities.”

The programme sees family nurses visit expectant mums every one or two weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of their baby’s life. They offer guidance in child development, health, parenting skills, breastfeeding, nutrition, and on education and employment.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The established Family Nurse Partnerships have already made a valuable difference to the lives of 450 young families since 2010, and the benefits of the family nurses are clear to anyone who has had the privilege of meeting them and the families they support.”