Mothers' views of the health visiting service in the UK: a web-based survey

Russell, Sally and Drennan, Vari (2007) Mothers' views of the health visiting service in the UK: a web-based survey. Community Practitioner, 80(8), pp. 22-26. ISSN (print) 1462-2815


User and client views are an important source of information for providers and commissioners of public services. This paper reports on a user-led UK wide survey of mothers' views about sources of support and experiences accessing the health visiting service. Netmums, a family of websites run by local mothers, undertook the survey following concerns that the health visiting service was proving increasingly difficult to access. 4,665 mothers responded to questions about a) who they would seek help from, b) views of the local health visiting service and c) perceived change in it over the past two years. The results show that the majority of respondents rate their service as quite or very good, valuing most the characteristics of a) expertise in child health development and parenting and b) time and willingness to listen on the part of health visitors. In all areas but one, the service was seen as changing for the worse. Following the re-affirmation of a need for a universal health visiting service to be able to pick up families in need, the challenge is now to design local services that have sufficient resources so that mothers can maintain relationships and confidently access the services when they need them.

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