UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Data linkage to evaluate the Family Nurse Partnership in England

Data linkage to evaluate the Family Nurse Partnership in England


Research Overview

Why is this research needed? 
More than 20,000 babies are born to teenage mothers in England each year, but younger mothers often face challenges that put them at a disadvantage compared with older mothers. Additional support for pregnant teenagers may improve outcomes for mothers and their children, but we do not yet know how best to implement services that are available.  

What are our aims? 
We aim to describe how an early support programme called the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is delivered across England, and to determine the contexts in which the programme is most effective. 

What do we plan to do? 
We will use electronic records that are routinely collected as part of health, education, and social care services, to compare outcomes for FNP participants with similar families who did not participate. We will look at a range of health, education and social care outcomes for children and their mothers. Researchers will only access anonymised data and will not be able to identify any individuals from the data. 

What are the benefits of this research?
Finding out whether FNP works better for some families (e.g. the youngest teenagers) than others will help improve targeting of resources and highlight groups in need of alternative support. Findings from the study will help policy-makers decide whether FNP should be offered to families in their local setting. Evidence generated by this study will support commissioners in providing improved services for mothers and children who could benefit most, and lead to increased efficiency through more effective targeting of resources.

Participant Involvement 

If you gave birth in an NHS Hospital in England between 2010 and 2017 and were <25 years of age or were enrolled in FNP, your data may be used for this study. You won’t need to do anything extra, and we will not be asking you to complete any questionnaires or to take part in any interviews. 

NHS Digital and the Department for Education will use a limited set of identifiers (e.g. NHS number, name, date of birth and postcode), so that professionals can retrieve relevant information about you and your child. These details will then be anonymised, and will always be securely protected. The researchers will never see any of the identifiers. 

NHS Digital and the Department for Education will provide the researchers with information on how FNP participants used health services (e.g. number of hospital visits), educational services (e.g. participation in school) and social care services. This will be in the form of a database containing numbers and codes. An anonymous study number will be used so that the researchers cannot identify any individuals from the data. 

We discussed our research plans with a group of mothers who had enrolled in FNP, and with a separate group of mothers who did not take part in FNP. These mothers were supportive of the study, and some will continue to help inform the research. However, if you would not like your data to be used for this study, or if you would like more information about the study, you can contact the research team (contact details below). If you would like to opt out of your data being used for the study, you will need to provide us with your name, date of birth and postcode. 

Please see the following for more information on the study and a more detailed description of our privacy policy: 

Main contact

  • k.harron@ucl.ac.uk; 0207 905 2141
    UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health 
    30 Guilford Street, 
    WC1N 1EH

Research team

We are a group of researchers at University College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Cambridge, the Institute of Health Visiting, and Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust: 

Katie Harron – Chief Investigator

Ruth Gilbert – Professor of Clinical Epidemiology 

Jan van der Meulen – Professor of Clinical Epidemiology 

Eilis Kennedy – Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist 

Emma Howarth – Senior Research Associate

Sally Kendall – Professor of Community Nursing and Public Health 

Ailsa Swarbrick – Director, Family Nurse Partnership 



Project dates

September 2019 - February 2022