Patient and public involvement research

Tackling sensitive research areas

Designing research to inform future service development and delivery always requires careful planning and preparation. This requirement grows when research sets out to investigate medical needs, especially those of parents and parents to be.

Maternity and ante-natal services in the North West

Bury, Heywood and Middleton PCTs commissioned Qa Research to consult service users and potential service users of ante natal and maternity services. The intention was to understand their likely attitudes to proposed service delivery changes.

Our methodology took two forms:

  • random postal sample of service users
  • questionnaire distribution to 30 local stakeholder groups

A diverse range of stakeholders were engaged to help with survey dissemination including: ante-natal clinics, post natal Health Visitors, the Teenage Pregnancy Unit, Surestart programmes, Mother and Baby Units and other service delivery points representing joint working between the PCT, Education and Social Services.

Specific organisations working with young Asian females were approached and a survey variant in Urdu and Gujarati was also made available to help ensure participation where English as a Second Language could have an adverse effect on participation. Translation services and a freephone number were also offered.

Continuing the engagement process

Our final report presented detailed information on user and potential user perceptions of the accessibility of maternity services and their opinions on current and future maternity services. Two stakeholder engagement workshops and a dissemination workshop for partners and stakeholders discussed the findings, providing the PCTs with more insight into local expectations and attitudes.

For more details e-mail robin.hulme@qaresearch.co.uk or call 01904 632039