Healthcare professionals' views of screening for postnatal depression

Community Pract. 2008 Apr;81(4):30-3.


Despite the widespread use of screening for postnatal depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) in England, little is known about the views of those healthcare professionals (HPs) who administer it. The current study aimed to address this, using a qualitative methodology to access the perceptions of HPs toward screening using this tool. A total of 19 semi-structured interviews were conducted in one primary care Trust (PCT). The results were analysed in the context of recommendations made by Unite/CPHVA and the National Screening Committee (NSC). Although training was provided in the PCT, some HPs had screened before being trained. All participants felt that the EPDS was useful, but for some this was only as a way to introduce the subject of postnatal depression. While some thought the tool was good generally, others reported problems with it, particularly in relation to item 10 on self harm. We found large differences in screening practice related to timing, environment and repeat screenings. We have made suggestions to alter practice so that it both meets recommendations made by Unite/CPHVA and the NSC, and ensures women receive the same standard of care across the PCT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / nursing
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff* / education
  • Nursing Staff* / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Efficacy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • State Medicine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors