Do women want women health workers? Women's views of the primary health care service


  • Fiona Brooks BA PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer m The Sociology of Health and Illness, School of Health and Community Studies, Sheffield Hallam University and Social Administration
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  • David Phillips BA MPhil Dip

    1. Senior Lecturer m Sociology and Social Policy, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England
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Dr F Brooks, Semor Lecturer School of Health and Community studies, Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield sw 2BP England


This paper sets out to explore key aspects of women's views of women GPs and practice nurses within primary health care settings The extent to which women actively seek female health workers for the provision of their primary health care needs, including preventive health care, is examined The findings presented m this paper are from a 3-year research project employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, which aimed to develop an understanding of the role women primary health care workers play in the construction and provision of primary health care services for women The findings indicate that for specific ‘women's health issues’ the gender of the worker is clearly important for women However, for other health needs factors such as the personal approach of the provider become paramount Consideration of the role of the practice nurse suggests that there is considerable potential for practice nurses to further develop a specific role with women Although lack of awareness among women of nursing skills and expertise raises issues for the presentation of the role of the practice nurse within the primary health care service In conclusion the paper highlights that women's views should be understood in terms of a complex range of preferences and needs