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Using the services

If you’re to get the best from these services it helps to be clear about what you want.

  • Before you meet with any professional, think through exactly what you want to talk about and what information you can give that’ll be helpful. You may want to make some notes beforehand and take them with you as a reminder.
  • Unless your child needs to be with you, try to get a friend or neighbour to look after him or her so that you can concentrate. 
  • It’s much easier to talk and listen if you’re not distracted.
  • If you do have to go with your child or children, take books or toys with you to entertain them.
  • Try to consider the answers or advice given to you. If your immediate feeling is ‘but that wouldn’t work for me’ or ‘that isn’t what I’m looking for’, then say so and try to talk about it. You’re less likely to come away with an answer you’re not happy with or can’t put into practice.


  • If a problem is making life difficult or is really worrying you, it’s worth keeping going until you get some kind of answer, if not a solution. So if the first person you talk to can’t help, ask if they can suggest where else you might go. Or if the doctor or health visitor suggests a remedy that doesn’t work, go back and ask again.
  • Some professionals aren’t good at explaining things. If you don’t understand, then say so. It’s their responsibility to be clear, not yours to guess what they mean. Go back over what’s said to you to get it straight.

If your first language is not English, you may be able to get the help of a linkworker or health advocate. Their job is not just to translate the words, but to act as a friend and make sure that the professionals understand just what you need. Ask your health visitor if there’s a linkworker or health advocate in your area.

We are indebted to Health Promotion England for their help in compiling this section.