We have just been alerted that our paper has been cited for the hundredth time in Scopus. The paper ‘Maternity satisfaction studies and their limitations: “What is, must still be best’ was published in Birth. The paper originated from the Scottish Birth Study which we were both part of in our previous academic posts at the University of Aberdeen.
This paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of satisfaction studies in the field of maternity care, including the issues that service users tend to value the status quo (i.e. What is must be best) . The implications are that innovations, of which users have no experience, may be rejected simply because they are unknown. The paper warns that problems may arise if satisfaction surveys are used to shape service provision. We advised that satisfaction surveys should be used with caution, and part of an array of tools. While involving service users is important in designing and organizing health services, there is still the risk that using satisfaction alone could end up promoting the status quo.
Professors Vanora Hundley & Edwin van Teijlingen
van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Rennie, A-M, Graham. W., Fitzmaurice, A. (2003) Maternity satisfaction studies and their limitations: “What is, must still be best”, Birth 30: 75-82.