Background.: In the UK, early years policy emphasizes that all families should have access to support tailored to their individual needs. Knowledge of the determinants of health service use should help to inform rational and equitable planning and delivery of services to parents. Objectives.: We seek to investigate the determinants of primary care service use in families with preschool children. Methods.: Determinants of service use in two population cohorts (families with children aged 0-1 and 2-3 years) from the Growing Up in Scotland study are presented. Services related to use of the family doctor or health visitor for information on the child's health or behaviour in the last year. Results.: A range of socio-demographic determinants were significant predictors of service use on multivariate analysis. Determinants of service use differed between the health visitor and family doctor. Conclusions.: The analysis provides an insight into the determinants and patterns of health service use by families with young children at two stages of development. While some of our findings are expected or supported by previous research, others highlight areas that require further investigation.
- child and adolescent development
- community medicine
- health promotion
- primary care
- public health.