Despite the widespread use of home based child health records of varying complexity in England, there is a notable absence of their evaluation. Such a record booklet developed in the West Lambeth Health Authority has been used by parents, doctors, and community nurses to build up an independent chronological record of a child's birth statistics, health, growth, immunisation, development checks, and contacts with health services. A randomised controlled evaluation of the record, analyses of entries in it, and a survey of the views of mothers and health professionals using the record have been carried out. The need for such a record was confirmed by those questioned and analyses of entries in the booklet helped to modify and improve it. The evaluation was unable to show, however, any effect of the record on immunisation and developmental assessment service uptake. Its value in improving communication between the numerous health and other care agencies was dependent on its proper use.
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