Friday, 20 March 2009


Mums deserting the surgery for the superhighway

Virgin Media reveals British mums are ‘self-diagnosing’ medical problems online

Following news that hospital waiting times are set to soar due to European laws limiting doctors’ working hours1, research by Virgin Media has found that British mums are turning into a nation of ‘house-doctors’ by self-diagnosing family medical problems online, rather than waiting in busy doctors’ surgeries for appointments.

As Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, Virgin Media surveyed the habits of modern mums, finding that almost half (46 per cent) of mothers have diagnosed or researched a family health issue online and more than a quarter (27 per cent) use social networking sites - like Facebook and Twitter - as a way to discuss family issues and get reassurance from other mums. In addition, two thirds (66 per cent) of mums regularly turn to blogs and social networking sites as an essential part of their daily routines.

This new phenomenon, known as MOMMs (Mums Online Making Mates), shows a trend suggesting that the ‘mother and toddler’ coffee morning may be a thing of the past, with almost one in five (18 per cent) of mums now discussing parenting issues online and more than one in ten (15 per cent) chat regularly to mums they’ve never even met in person.

What’s more, the internet is even becoming a real lifeline for a few, with one in five mums (20 per cent) admitting that the web helps them feel less lonely and is an escape from real life (18 per cent). With almost a quarter (24 per cent) of 25-34 year old mums revealing their online time eases isolation, it’s no wonder that a staggering 80 per cent of them are logging on to Facebook regularly.

Family psychologist Donna Dawson said: “Many mothers feel that they don’t want to face a long wait in a doctor’s surgery and prefer to use the internet for guidance when self-diagnosing a medical problem. Virgin Media’s research shows that the internet allows women to reach out to other mums, share their experiences and ask for advice and support, creating a virtual world of like-minded people that they can dip in and out of when it’s convenient and from the comfort of their own homes. The internet has seemingly replaced the phone and the post for a lot of busy mums.”

Ashley Stockwell, managing director of brand and marketing at Virgin Media, said: “The internet is perfect way for busy mums to keep in touch with friends and family, and offers a variety of parental and health advice. With a massive range of content available through a superfast broadband connection these days, mums can find what they need at the touch of a button.”

To help modern MOMMs make the most out of their online time, Virgin Media has produced an informative fact sheet – MOMMs Guide. The impartial, free of charge guide gives helpful tips and advice on a whole host of topics, from where to get the best childcare hints from other mums, to the best blogs and sites that can help with the kids’ homework, as well as a dictionary of online phrases and words.


Media Contacts
Frank PR, 020 7693 6999 or email

Notes to Editors surveyed 1,006 mothers aged 16+ across the UK between 27th February and 6th March 2009.

1 Daily Telegraph Online, 12th March 2009, Hospital waiting lists will soar due to European law, surgeons warn (

About Virgin Media

With almost 10 million customers, Virgin Media is the UK's first quad-play provider of broadband, TV, phone and mobile.

The company is the largest residential broadband provider in the UK, using a unique fibre optic cable network to deliver next generation ultrafast internet access of up to 50Mb to just over half of all homes. Combined with a high speed ADSL service and mobile broadband products, Virgin Media is able to offer broadband internet access to virtually the entire country.

Virgin Media has the UK’s most advanced TV on demand service and is the only TV platform to carry BBC iPlayer. It is the second largest provider of pay TV, was the first to launch a high definition TV service and offers a high-specification, HD-ready V+ personal video recorder.

The company operates the most popular virtual mobile network in the UK which, when launched, was the world’s first such mobile phone service. It is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the country.

Virgin Media owns two content businesses – Virgin Media Television (VMtv) and sit-up. VMtv owns eight entertainment channels, including Virgin1, Living, Bravo and Challenge – and is a 50 per cent joint partner with the BBC Worldwide in UKTV which consists of ten channels including Dave, G.O.L.D., Watch and Alibi. sit-up runs retail TV channels bid tv, price-drop tv and speed auction tv.

With operations based entirely in the UK, Virgin Media Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (VMED).

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