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Community forum. 1. Family planning. Palaces of advice.

  • Bunting, J
Published Article
Nursing mirror
Publication Date
Jan 19, 1983
PMID: 6550319


Completed questionnaires were collected from 130 respondents attending child health clinics (CHCs) in Corringham, Stanford, East Tilbury, and Billericay to investigate the source chosen by patients using CHCs for family planning information and materials, and why they made this choice. Criteria for inclusion were that all subjects were attending a CHC and by definition had at least 1 child; all subjects were female and of reproductive age; and all were at that time using some family planning method. 23 respondents indicated that they went to more than 1 source for advice. No respondents went to their midwife and only 4% sought the advice of their health visitor. Approximately equal proportions of respondents indicated that they went to their general practitioner and to family planning clinics, these 2 groups together forming 4/5 of all answers. 8% of respondents indicated they were dissatisfied with the advice given or obtained. 24 respondents (partners) used the condom, 56 oral contraceptives, 5 the IUD, 9 the diaphragm, 2 the condom and rhythm, 1 the condom and withdrawal, 1 withdrawal, and 2 partners had had a vasectomy. In the Essex statistics, in addition 5% were not using any method of contraception and 1% were using chemicals only. The most interesting variation between this study and the Essex Family Planning Center statistics are: almost twice as many study respondents use the condom and 3 times as many Essex clients as survey patients use the IUD. 1/5 expressed dissatisfaction with their method of contraception. Respondents obtained their supplies free in equal numbers from the Family Planning Center and family doctor, but 19% chose or were forced by circumstances to pay for their supplies. 73% reported no problems in getting supplies; 7% indicated problems and 20% did not respond to this question. Criticism can be divided into 3 categories: variation in cost of supplies between sources of service; clinic too far away; and occasionally an overnight wait for the chemist to obtain the right OC. Criticisms of family planning centers were excessive waiting time, disliked staff attitude, too little explanation, and lack of confidentiality. A greater proportion of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the service supplied by general practitioners than the service provided by the centers.

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