An exploration of the views on an opt-out consent policy for school based immunisations.

Re: Research Study – An exploration of the views of young people, parents/carers and education staff on an opt-out consent policy for school based immunisations.


My name is Elizabeth and I am a postgraduate student on a Master of Health Care Management course at Swansea University. You are invited to take part in a research project, which I am conducting as part of the requirements of my Masters study.


This project aims to explore the views of young people, parents/carers and education staff, on the possibility of a change in obtaining consent for school based immunisation programmes from an opt-in to an opt-out consent policy.


Immunisation programmes prevent and control the spread of life threatening infectious diseases (WHO, 2016). Effective immunisation programmes benefit local community level as potentially some infections can become rare or eradicated (NHS Wales, 2016). For this to be the case and for immunisation programmes to be successful, they rely on a good uptake rate of the vaccine by the targeted population to achieve “herd immunity”.  Reducing the probability of the occurrence and protecting the most vulnerable in society who are unable to be vaccinated due to their age, a health condition or other contraindications (Fine et al, 2011).


In Wales, immunisations are given in the school setting and in the main these are delivered by the School Health Nurses who are employed by the local health board for that given area. As part of the role of a School Health Nurse (Specialist Community Public Health Nurse) is to promote and encourage the uptake of immunisation in the school aged population as well as administer the vaccine within the school. Consent forms are sent home by Child Health Department via the school for parents to sign and return with their intention to consent for their child to have each immunisation if they wish or to decline if they do not. The chasing up of the returned consent forms can be a task within education setting (Cooper Robbins et al, 2011).


There are other health interventions taking place with the school setting including vision screening, Child Measurement Programme, dental and audiology screening. Within some of these processes the ‘opt out’ policy of parental consent has been applied. Where by a parent/carer need only inform if wish for intervention to not take place. Therefore, the question raised is; would an opt out policy on consent for immunisations in the school setting improve the uptake of immunisations administered in the school setting?  This will be an initial explorative study to gather the thoughts and feelings young people, parents/cares and education staff.


If you choose to take part in the project, you will be asked to take part in a focus group or an interview.

The focus group or interview will take place within the school. The interview will last no more than an hour. The focus group will last no more than two hours. A date and time which is most suitable to you will be arranged. The interview/focus group will be audio recorded for transcribing purposes. All information collected during the research project will be treated confidentially and will be coded so that you remain anonymous. All data collected will be stored securely on University . The information will be presented in a written report, in which your identity will not be revealed. You may be sent a summary of the final report on request. I do not anticipate any risks associated with participating in this research project.


Participation in this project is voluntary and you are free to withdraw at any time and there will be no penalty for doing so any data collated during this time will immediately be destroyed and not used as part of the research. If you would like to take part in the project, please complete the cut off slip at the bottom of this information sheet and return to the school office. If you have any questions about the research project or require further information you may contact me on the following details:




If you have any concerns or complaints and wish to contact an independent person about this research project, you may contact My Research Supervisor: Janice Lewis





If you as parents/guardians are interested in taking part in this research project please follow this link to complete the online interest form. Deadline for expression of interest 25th April 2018.


Thank you for your time,

Elizabeth Churne.

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