Marshall, Joyce, Green, J.M. and Spiby, Helen (2012) Missing out or singling out? Parents’ views on how health professionals should work with them now to get the best for their child in the future. In: 2nd Annual National Child Health Conference - Striving for Excellence, 19th - 20th April 2012, Telford, UK. (Unpublished)

To investigate parents’ views about how health professionals should identify and work with families who may benefit from additional input to maximise their children’s future health and well-being.

A qualitative study was conducted. Eleven focus group interviews were carried out with 54 parents living in the north of England. Comparative analysis was carried out to highlight similarities and differences across key concepts.

The idea of preventive services was welcomed by all parents. They strongly believed that everyone should have access to services aiming to enhance child well-being. Parents recognised that some families need additional support but were concerned that targeted services could result in missing out on some services. They were also concerned that if certain services were offered because they belonged to a group with an increased likelihood of poor child outcomes this could lead to feelings of being assessed, stereotyped and judged and that their abilities as parents were being questioned. Parents projected a belief in themselves as ‘good parents’ even in adverse circumstances. Targeted services could be acceptable if health professionals introduced them sensitively, for example, encouraging attendance at groups to provide support was considered to be helpful.

Targeted additional preventive services can be acceptable and welcome if health professionals introduce them sensitively, in the context of an existing relationship, providing parents are active participants.

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