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Consumer responses to health care: women and maternity services.

Proctor, Susan and Wright, Gillian H. (1998) Consumer responses to health care: women and maternity services. International journal of health care quality assurance, 11 (5). pp. 147-155. ISSN 0952-6862

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Abstract

The importance of understanding consumer perceptions of services is widely acknowledged. This is becoming more relevant in health care, as attempts to incorporate users' views into service development and evaluation are increasing. This study focused on women's responses to their recent experience of maternity care, and sought to gain insight into the service features they associated with negative and positive reactions. Postal questionnaires were sent to antenatal and postnatal women. Two open questions invited women to note if any aspects of their care had particularly impressed or bothered them. There was variation in the factors identified through the different phases of the service--antenatal, labour and postnatal care. However, staff attitudes were a main source of positive comments throughout the service, and lack of information and poor explanations were a consistent source of negative responses. Providing consumers with an opportunity to give feedback on their service experience should be based on issues which are relevant to them, not just on those which are measurable.

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