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G138(P) What actions/pathway do parents take when their child has a health problem and they think they should be seen by a doctor/nurse/or other. What dictates their views and choices?
  1. MBE PA Barnes
  1. Chairman, Action for Sick Children, Stockport, UK


Aims No significant voice of parents has been held to date regarding the action that parents, carers and guardians wish to take when there child is unwell.

Action for Sick Children sought through their survey of 2000 parents to identify the pathways adopted by parents and to understand the factors involved in their decision making process.

Methods In order to gain this information the charity engaged a research company to carry out an online survey of 2000 parents of children aged 0 – 11 and to do in-depth qualitative interviews with 15 of the parents who completed on line.

Parents were questioned on:

  1. What they are currently doing

  2. How well this works

  3. Improvements to existing services

  4. Ideas for new resources

The survey was carried out in England and Northern Ireland


  1. GPs/Family Doctors are most frequently used – they are most trusted (85%)

  2. Accident & Emergency Departments were 4th on the list (39%)

Other services used were: Chemist/Pharmacist

NHS Direct

Walk in Centres


  • Parents are most satisfied with their GP/ Family Doctors

  • They would like to see the same GP each time they go

  • Perceived difficulty getting an appointment especially that day

  • Need more flexible opening times – e.g. early evening and weekends

Suggested Improvements

  • Making easier to speak to GP/Family Doctor

  • Extended hours

  • Free first aid classes for first time parents

  • More drop in centres

  • More paediatric health care specialists

  • Dedicated children’s Accident & Emergency Departments

  • School Nurses available 5 days per week

  • Improving quality of advice given by pharmacists

  • Improve availability and quality of free phone line information

  • Leaflets for new parents

The findings of the survey have already been sent to all Clinical Commissioning Groups and many other interested bodies.

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