An exploratory study of demand for the health visiting service within a marketing framework

Authors

  • Suzan Collinson BSc RGN RHV DN Cert,

    1. Oben House, 55 Ashton Lane, Sale, Cheshire M33 5PE, England,
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  • Sarah Cowley BA PhD PGDE RGN RCNT DipN RHV HVT

    1. Professor of Nursing Practice Development and Evaluation, Florence Nightingale Division of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, Cornwall House, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, England
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Abstract

A small exploratory study was carried out to consider the concept of demand for the health visiting service from the clients’ perspective. Because of the internal market introduced to the British health system under the National Health Service and Community Care Act, the idea of ‘marketing’ was used as a conceptual framework to underpin the study. Guided interviews were carried out with a sample of nine mothers of pre-school children to elicit the reasons why clients access the service, what they value about it and how they think it could be improved. A detailed qualitative analysis of these data indicates that demand for health visiting relates, in the first instance, to clients’ knowledge of the service. This knowledge, and the extent to which the service meets their expectations, appear to influence the value the women place on health visiting and their subsequent use of it. A cycle is described, which illustrates critical points at which health visiting responses affect demand and use of service. The implications of the study for health visiting and for marketing the service are discussed.

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