Challenges in health visitor prescribing in a London primary care trust
In this primary care trust there was limited health visitor prescribing. A case study approach sought to identify reasons for this, to lead to recommendations and changes to develop health visitor prescribing. The situation was examined using qualitative methods to consider the opportunities and challenges in health visitor prescribing. Semi-structured interviews with eighteen health visitors and managers explored their views of health visitor prescribing and its position within the PCT. The findings demonstrated only three health visitors prescribed; yet the majority were positive about prescribing, both for clients and health visitor development. Practitioners recognised their difficult working context and felt that organisational systems were not supportive of prescribing. A culture of prescribing was not felt to be in evidence, but was seen as a realistic possibility. Recommendations for change focused on the organisation and practitioners, with improved communication and structures supportive of prescribing. There was a need for practitioners to be active in learning so that they could share knowledge, experience and commitment to prescribing in locally based groups.