Save the Family Nurse Partnership in Manchester

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This petition had 1,535 supporters
Unite Central Manchester Health Branch started this petition to Sir Richard Leese (Leader of Manchester City Council) and

In January 2016 Manchester City Council advised the Central Manchester Foundation Trust that the Public Health Services budget for ages 0-5 was to be cut by £370k. As a result they have chosen to cut The Family Nurse Partnership programme (FNP).

FNP is an evidence based programme delivered by specially trained nurses to first-time young mothers under the age of 20. The Family Nurse Partnership has been commissioned in Manchester for 10 years, and aims to improve antenatal outcomes, child development and mother's self-efficacy.  Family nurses work intensively with young parents until the child is two, delivering a programme aimed to improve the aspirations for young parents and their children. Evidence identifies that teenage mothers often have low psychological and economic support which can act as a barrier to effective parenting. Many of the clients have complex lives with a significant occurrence of mental health problems, low educational attainment, learning difficulties, domestic abuse and safeguarding issues.

Despite these issues Family Nurses have an excellent track record of being able to access and work with this varied group of people.  The services provides evidenced improvements in the outcomes for children which include improvements in school readiness, which in turn will improve the life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in our city.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, has highlighted the need for prevention of problems, instead of tackling them reactively. This programme is one such early intervention preventative programme and the service saves money: for each £1 invested in the programme, society gains an evidenced £1.94 in the long term. The Government recovers the costs of the programme by age 12, from welfare savings alone. The Government saves money from FNP through increased employment, welfare savings, reductions in crime, and child protection. There are many other non-monetary benefits such as improved child emotional development, mental health and well-being, improved child cognitive and language development, improved parenting, increased breastfeeding, less domestic abuse as victim and perpetrator, reduced maternal and child substance abuse, improved maternal mental health, improved child physical, psychomotor and neurological development and avoidance of foster placements.

Decommissioning this service will be detrimental in affecting the health, wellbeing and life chances of both the parents and children.  Of further concern is that Manchester City Council have stated an intention to commission an enhanced service, but have not said when or what this will be. Whatever it is, it will not benefit this very vulnerable clientele who have been considered appropriate for this service now and  been promised support until their child was two years old, but are now being abandoned and left at risk. Any new service would also not have the backing of 30 years of research.

This service is about investing in the future, and the wellbeing and outcomes of those who through no fault of their own find themselves on the margins of society. In the long term cutting this service is not an effective cost saving.

Please help to save this essential service that improves the lives of many women and children in Manchester.

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