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Public Health Webinars for Parents

28th March 2022

We are delighted to share this Voices blog by Natasha James, Clinical Lead for Health Visiting, Bristol , Sirona care & health, on her service’s experiences of delivering a series of public health webinars for parents. These were created to enable important public health messages to be shared during a time when face-to-face contacts were not possible due to the pandemic.

woman smiling

Natasha James – Clinical lead for Health Visiting- Bristol, RN-Child, SCPHN, MSc Public Health, Sirona care & health

The COVID-19 pandemic has enabled innovative health visiting (HV) practice, creating new opportunities to deliver virtual public health messages. Whilst recognising that virtual contacts cannot replace face-to face-contacts, there are many benefits to delivering virtual public health messages, alongside face-to-face contacts.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of public health webinars for parents were created to enable important public health messages to be delivered via a webinar when face-to-face groups were stopped.

Prior to implementation, barriers to successful delivery were identified which included potential technical failures or that virtual delivery would be perceived as a replacement for face-to-face groups. These barriers were addressed early on, and the service was explicit that the webinars would not replace face-to-face groups but rather complement the service offer. The webinars are promoted at routine contacts with families who can then register for any of the webinars available.

Our service currently delivers webinars on:

  • Introducing solid foods
  • Fussy eating
  • Infant feeding for parents and parents-to-be
  • Safely using a wrap or baby carrier
  • Safety at home

Many benefits of the webinars have been identified, such as:

Positive parent/family feedback:
Webinars offer flexibility and convenience to families. Our service plans to record the webinars and upload them so they can be accessed anytime. We have received feedback from parents, requesting for sessions outside of 9-5pm working hours so that co-parents/family members can also engage. We have also received positive feedback from a parent who said she attended the webinar from home, whilst her husband attended from work during his break. This was only possible due to the nature of the webinar being virtual, as her husband would not have had the time to travel to a group session during his working day. It is important to engage fathers, and webinars provide another avenue to do this. There is a huge body of evidence demonstrating the impact that both parents have on their child’s health and wellbeing, and so providing services that are accessible to both parents supports this approach (Fatherhood Institute, 2018). Allen (2021) outlines accessibility as a potential benefit of virtual delivery.

Cost effectiveness:
Webinars are cost-effective for both the organisation and the service user. There is no need to find or pay for a venue, no transportation costs, and service users can access the webinars from the comfort of their own homes. It also allows for parents to attend if they are at work (Allen, 2021).

Wider Reach:
We can deliver to a large geographical area and this increases accessibility for those who have digital options at home. Families who were unable to travel to venues for various reasons, such as disability or lack of transport, were able to attend whereas previously they may have missed out. There are also service users who do not want to attend a face-to-face group and prefer the anonymity of the webinars. The webinars offer an alternative to face-to-face groups and, therefore, service users have more choice about how they access our services (Allen, 2021).

Best Start for Life – action areas

The Best Start for Life (HM Government, 2021) sets out a vision for the first 1001 days and has identified six areas of action – with action area 3 being: ‘The information families need when they need it:  designing digital, virtual and telephone offers around the needs of the family’.

The webinars have supported our service in working towards action area 3. As well as the virtual webinars, our service has also developed a digital poster where families are taken directly to information about the webinar event and the booking site so they can register. The digital poster has been shared on our social media channels and via our organisation’s website. The posters have also been shared with GP practices and local Children’s Centres who are promoting them via their Facebook pages.

What do families and staff think?

The webinars have been so successful that we are now offering a ‘hybrid’ model as more face-to-face groups are gradually introduced. Feedback from families has been positive:

  • 85% of attendees stating the webinars are ‘very helpful’ and 15% finding them ‘helpful’.
  • 100% of attendees have said they would recommend the webinars to others.

Staff who are involved in delivering the webinars have said:

  • They have enjoyed being part of the webinar team.
  • They have increased their networking with others.
  • They have learnt many new skills.

There have been challenges along the way, such as problematic internet connections. However, as the service has become more experienced with virtual delivery, these challenges have been overcome. One of the greatest challenges has been obtaining feedback from service users. Initially, a survey was sent out following the webinars but there was a zero-response rate. This was then adapted to asking for direct feedback at the end of the webinars which has been more successful but is still very limited and needs developing further.

The introduction of public health webinars has enabled our service to provide important public health information to families to empower them to make informed choices and give their chid the best start in life.

What next?

The service is hoping to increase the number of topics offered to families and we will include family feedback when deciding which topics to offer. We plan to upload recordings, so that they are always available. We are also working on ways to make them accessible to families where English is not their first language.

The webinars are evaluated using a series of standard questions and general feedback after each webinar.  Current evaluation does not include capturing of demographic information. Moving forward, a more in-depth evaluation including demographic analysis would enable us to explore whether the service is reaching under-represented groups. Further research is also needed to explore the reasons why people do not want to attend webinars so that this can inform service improvement and aim to reduce some of the barriers.

Natasha James RN-Child, SCPHN, MSc Public Health – Clinical lead for Health Visiting, Bristol , Sirona care & health


  • Allen. S.  (2021) Understanding the benefits of a webinar in today’s scenario [online].  ISLETISLET.  Available here [Accessed 22 February 2022].
  • Fatherhood Institute.  (2018) Who’s the bloke in the room?  Fathers during pregnancy and at birth in the UK’ [online].  Fatherhood Institute.  Available here [Accessed 1 March 2022].
  • HM Government.  (2021) The Best Start for Life; A Vision for the 1001 Critical Days, The Early Years Healthy Development Review Report [online].  HM Government.  Available here [Accessed 24 February 2022].



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