Family support in general practice.

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

PubMedID: 10692905

Goodhart C, Layzell S, Cook A, Graffy J. Family support in general practice. J R Soc Med. 1999;92(10):525-8.
At a time when social services are overburdened in Britain, family support in general practice offers one way to fill the gap. In the Well Family Project, a 'family support coordinator' worked within a general practice in Hackney, London. In the first eighteen months she saw 113 clients. Evaluation was by semistructured interviews with a sample of these clients and with professional workers. Comments from those interviewed indicate that the family support was valued. The general practice base was convenient and non-stigmatizing. By adopting a proactive approach, the project was able to work with clients who had previously 'slipped through the net'. Some of the professionals interviewed would have liked to provide the same help, but were unable to do so because of time and other constraints. Family support provided through general practice was well received by vulnerable families. Although there was overlap with the remit of health visitors and social workers, the protected time and the independence of the coordinator enabled clients to obtain the help they wanted. The replicability of this strategy now needs to be assessed.