Channel 4 Learning


Teachers' resources – Programme notes

Meeting Needs?

Background information
Curriculum relevance


The overall aim of this programme is to illustrate how people use a variety of different types of care provision and support to meet their particular needs. The programme introduces one new individual, Jane, as well as building on programme 1 by considering how Mark, David, Phyllis and Ada make use of local care services and informal care provision. The programme extends the 'needs' focus of the previous programme, provides examples of referral processes and touches on ways of funding care provision.

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'Meeting needs' focuses on five individuals who have a variety of care and support needs.

  • Jane is experiencing housing difficulties and has physical and social support needs resulting from her pregnancy. She makes a self-referral to her GP who makes a professional referral to maternity services.
  • Mark is looking for a flat that meets his ongoing emotional and social needs for greater independence, a personal relationship and friendships.
  • Karen Moncholi describes adaptations to the family home that were made to meet David's physical needs. She explains that these were funded through a combination of statutory, charity and personal sources.
  • Phyllis demonstrates various aids acquired through statutory and family sources to assist her with mobility (physical need). She is also seen at a hospital appointment where a professional referral for acupuncture is suggested.
  • Ada uses hobbies and a drop-in group to meet her intellectual, emotional and social needs. She also identifies hearing and asthma problems as areas of physical need where she requires equipment to help her cope.

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Background information


Types of care provision

  • Care provision is either delivered as formal care (via care organisations and self-employed practitioners) or as informal care (via family members and friends).
  • Most care provision in Britain is delivered through the informal care sector.
  • The statutory care sector provides most formal care services.
  • Statutory health care is delivered by the National Health Service (NHS) and social care, education and early years services mainly through local authorities (councils).
  • Health care provided via GP (family doctor) surgeries is known as primary health care.
  • Non-specialist care, support and companionship is typically provided by informal carers.
  • Most childcare, social support and assistance for older and disabled people is provided through this route. This is partly due to lack of formal, statutory care provision in these areas.
  • Voluntary sector care provision generally focuses on social care provision and includes groups such as 'Busy Bees', attended by Phyllis and Ada.
  • Private sector care provision is based around self-employed practitioners and small businesses providing specialist forms of care for which people are willing to pay a fee or charge. Childcare providers, optical services and slimming advisers (see Hasina in programme 4) often operate as private sector services.
  • Each of the people featured seek care services in response to their self-perceived or formally assessed health, support or developmental needs.

Referral processes

  • Referral refers to the process of applying for, or requesting, a care service.
  • The three main types of referral are:
  • 'Self-referral' – this involves a person directly requesting or purchasing a care service in person for themselves. Jane's self-referral to her GP is an example of this.
  • 'Professional referral' – this occurs when a health or social care professional refers a person who has come to see them to another health or social care professional. Jane's GP makes a professional referral to midwifery services. The pain specialist consulted by Phyllis also indicates that he has received a referral from another doctor.
  • 'Third party referral' occurs when a person (who is not a care professional) applies for a care service on behalf of someone else. For example, if Ada phoned the local hospital to request additional home care services for Phyllis, this would be a third-party referral.

Care workers

  • General Practitioner (GP) – typically has responsibility for the primary health care of a local community. Service users will be varied in terms client groups with a variety of health needs and issues and will be people of all ages.
  • Pain Specialist – this practitioner is a doctor and likely to be a hospital-based consultant. He receives referrals from primary health care workers, such as GPs and practice nurses and also from other consultants within the local hospital area. He is likely to provide specialist diagnosis and treatment services for people suffering from both acute and chronic pain. He will also make referrals to other medical and complementary health care specialists.

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Curriculum Relevance

  • This programme links directly to Unit 1 Health, Social Care and Early Years Services.
  • The content addresses issues that are mainly contained in the second part of the unit specification.
  • The participants use the statutory, private, voluntary and informal sectors to obtain health care, housing and social support services.
  • The significance of informal care provision is illustrated in relation to each of the participants.
  • Methods of referral are illustrated in the sections on Jane and Phyllis.
  • The two direct care providers who appear in this programme are a GP and a hospital consultant. Ada also has contact with an indirect care worker when enquiring about her hearing aids.
  • Services and activities are shown in a way that directly links them to the care or support needs of a particular individual. This should enable students to understand why individuals require and use various types of services.

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  1. Carry out an investigation of local care services, producing a map or directory of services available to different client or 'need' groups in your immediate area. Break the class into small groups and ask each group to investigate a particular type of service provision or a care sector (statutory, private, voluntary). Many local care services run an informative website and produce a variety of printed resources that describe the kinds of care and support services they offer.

  2. You might also want to contact a local voluntary group or care organisation to come into your school to deliver a talk or provide a display of information on their services. Alternatively, you may be able to make use of an open day at a local care organisation, to provide students with a real experience of seeing care services in action.

  3. What are the benefits of local support groups? View the sections of the video featuring the Busy Bees social club again. Ask students to brainstorm and produce a diagram, or have a discussion about the ways in which attending the group may help Ada and Phyllis to meet some of their social, emotional and intellectual needs.

  4. Using the key points and understanding developed in the previous activity, ask students to view the sections of the programme featuring Jane again. Set them the task of identifying, either in discussion or as a diagram, how Jane (and her children) could benefit (remember social, emotional and intellectual needs!) from joining and participating in a local mother and toddler support group.
    1. Brainstorm a list of examples of early years and child care support services that are available for children and families in your local area (creating a spider diagram using the model below).
    2. Identify the care sector (private, voluntary or statutory) that each service belongs to.

More lesson ideas

Click here for more lesson ideas

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This web page contains links to other websites that are not under the control of and are not maintained by Channel 4 Television. Channel 4 Television is not responsible for the content of these sites and does not necessarily endorse the material on them.

The National Health Service
SureStart child care support
Informal Care

Additional information on cerebral palsy can be obtained from, the website of the International Cerebral Palsy Society.

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This web page contains links to other websites that are not under the control of and are not maintained by Channel 4 Television. Channel 4 Television is not responsible for the content of these sites and does not necessarily endorse the material on them.