Meeting with Mary Griffith at the FNP National Unit gave me an insight into the significant investment required to support the program. Mary is the Service Development and New Projects Lead for the National Unit, and her work includes supporting the implementation of the program in the UK. The National Unit is located in North West London, near the quaintly named Tube station – Swiss Cottage.
She explained that the initial phase of the implementation was test pilot site in 2007, with a formative evaluation. A Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) commenced in 2009, and shortly afterwards the program was introduced across the National Health Service (NHS).
This quick uptake of the program, even before the results of the RCT were published, is a result of the very strong personal support offered by David Cameron, the Prime Minister.
The program comprises 135 teams with up to 800 nurses, nurse supervisors and admin staff. This enables 16000 places to be offered to young women in England, Ireland and Scotland. In some sites, 100% coverage has been achieved, with all young pregnant women are offered a place in the program.
The program has not been implemented in Wales, as they have a pre-existing maternal and child health program.
National Unit Support
The National Unit has a range of tools for provider organisations to use to ensure the right conditions for high quality preparation and delivery of the Family Nurse Partnership program. These include:
- A comprehensive ‘Management Manual’ which provides detailed and comprehensive guidance on preparing for and delivering the program
- Job descriptions for nurses and supervisors and guidance on practitioner recruitment and selection
- Provision of the Family Nurse Partnership learning program for nurses and supervisors
- Clear guidelines, content and materials for nurses to use in visits with clients
- A real-time information system and performance evaluation for individual nurses, the team and the site.
- A quality improvement process
- Learning days for provider managers, named nurses and others involved with delivery of the Family Nurse Partnership program
Every site also has a dedicated member of the National Unit, a Service Development Lead, to provide support and guidance to the local Family Nurse Partnership team, the site and local stakeholders. The Service Development Lead works with each site right from the beginning to support planning and preparation for program implementation . At the outset this will involve:
- Gaining strategic commitment to the delivery of the Family Nurse Partnership program and its sustainability from the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Groups
- Working with NHS England Area Team to agree a commissioning process, confirm service specification, choose a provider and agree a budget
- Identifying a project manager to lead local strategy and implementation for the Family Nurse Partnership program
- Setting up a Family Nurse Partnership Advisory board
- Shaping and managing an implementation plan
The keys to delivering the Family Nurse Partnership program successfully are:
- Commitment from all stakeholders and a genuine desire to see the Family Nurse Partnership succeed
- Good preparation with dedicated support
- Strong leadership for the program locally
The Service Development Lead will continue to work with each site on the on-going delivery of the Family Nurse Partnership, in particular with the process of continuous quality improvement. The focus of the Service Development Leads and the National Unit as a whole is on continually learning from and with sites in order to develop the program nationally and constantly improve the quality of program delivery.
(excerpt from the FNP website: http://fnp.nhs.uk/about/fnp-in-england/the-national-unit)