Parents' use and views of the national standard Personal Child Health Record: a survey in two primary care trusts

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BackgroundThe Personal Child Health Record (PCHR) is a booklet given to parents in the UK, following the birth of a child, to be used as the main record of their growth, development and uptake of preventative health services. The national standard PCHR has been available since April 2004. The aim of this survey was to explore parental views of the ‘new’ PCHR, their experiences in receiving it, and its subsequent use, focusing on specific issues of current debate among health professionals.MethodsA parental questionnaire (n = 89) was administered in July 2004, in 10 child health clinics located in two primary care trusts; one in central London and the other in Buckinghamshire.ResultsNearly all parents (98%) reported that they used the PCHR as a record of their child's health and development and 92% reported that they ‘always’ took it with them when seeing healthcare staff about their child. Some parents (22%) indicated that they had not been given a satisfactory explanation as to how to use the PCHR, at the time it was issued to them. Parents reported that health visitors were more likely than other health professionals to use the PCHR both to obtain information about their child and to record information. The majority of respondents (78%) were happy for the level of maternal education to be documented in their child's PCHR.ConclusionsParents used, appreciated and liked the design of the national standard PCHR. Health visitors and primary care staff used the PCHR more than secondary care staff. The potential benefits of the PCHR will only be maximized if other healthcare professionals respond by using it.

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