Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association

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The Peacedown Project: A mixed method of study demonstrating that
the lay population hold essential knowledge of their health and health needs





The accurate identification of need is an imperative to maximise population health gains and target health inequalities. Professionals undertake the majority of identification. Research has shown that knowledge of felt and expressed need differs between individuals and professionals. This study, based on an innovative qualitative design, discerned the opinion of the population and compared it with the area health profile and medical practice profile.

Grounded theory interviews were analysed and checked with a focus group. A theory of health for the population was identified A questionnaire was constructed on the information derived; predictive psychology and quality of life questionnaires were added. Opportunities for free text comments were included. The adult population Peasedown St. John were surveyed. A thirty-six percent response was received and analysed.

The findings of the study supported the hypothesis. New and important findings emerged that had not been identified by previous studies. Town planning decisions in the 1970’s had created a divided village encircling an enclosed community. The lack of a cohesive community was negatively influencing health. Inadequate local food sources and a complete lack of leisure facilities in a rural location had resulted in problems associated with deprived urban populations, those of drug and alcohol misuse in the enclosed community and unreported levels of psychological distress.

These findings reveal the urgent need for a link road, community development, wrap-around childcare facilities, exercise facilities for all, an economical and good quality food source and acceptable mental health services for the twelve and a half percent male population who admitted to psychological distress.

Recommendations included a healthy living and sport centre including accommodation for outreach services, a nursery and children’s club for after school childcare and a good supermarket.

Future research is indicated to confirm methodology and underlying mental health needs of males.