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Interview leaflet HSE 2023

NatCen Social Research, an independent research institute, and University College London (UCL) have been commissioned by NHS Digital to carry out this survey. NHS Digital is sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care and is the national provider of information, data and IT systems in England.

This leaflet gives you more information about the study, and why it is being carried out.

What is the Health Survey for England?

We need information about the health of adults and children in England. This is so that new and better ways can be developed to help people maintain healthy lifestyles. It also helps to provide better services for people who are ill. The Health Survey for England is an annual survey. Each year a new set of people are interviewed about their health.

What does the survey cover?

The Health Survey for England has questions about your general health. It also asks about factors that can affect your health, including things such as smoking and drinking. We also ask about some other details such as name, address, date of birth, sex and employment.

If you agree, the survey also collects some physical measurements such as height and weight. You can agree to take part in some sections of the survey and not others.

One of our specially trained interviewers will carry out these elements of the survey, either in your own home or remotely, and at a time convenient to you.

Why have you come to my household?

A visit to every household in England would take too long and cost too much money. Instead we select a random sample of addresses, and ask the people at each of these addresses to take part.

Do I have to take part?

Taking part is voluntary. In all our surveys we rely on voluntary cooperation. The success of the survey depends on the goodwill of those asked to take part. The more people who do take part, the more useful the results will be. You are free to withdraw from the survey at any time and you can request that your personal data such as names and addresses and your answers to the interview questions are deleted at any time. Once the survey results (which do not identify you) have been published we would not be able to change the results by removing individual information.

How long will the survey take?

This varies from person to person and depends on how many people live in your household. The interviewer will discuss this with you and will arrange a time to visit that suits you.

What happens after the interview?

If you agree, the interviewer will arrange for a qualified biomedical fieldworker to visit at a time that is convenient for you. This is so that some measurements can be taken.

If you agree, the biomedical fieldworker will measure blood pressure (for those aged 5+) and waist and hip measurement (for those aged 11+). For everyone aged 4 to 15, the biomedical fieldworker will ask for consent to collect a sample of saliva (spit). For adults, the biomedical fieldworker will also ask for consent to collect a blood sample (for those aged 16+).

The biomedical fieldworker will have to ask you for written permission before they can take a sample of saliva or blood. You are of course free to choose not to give a sample, even if you are willing to help the biomedical fieldworker with other things.

The analysis of all the measurements and samples will tell us a lot about the health of the population. During the health visit, the biomedical fieldworker will be able to explain the importance of these measurements and answer any questions you may have.

What is a biomedical fieldworker?

A biomedical fieldworker is a NatCen data collector with a background in Health and Social Care who is specially trained to take biological samples and measurements including blood samples in a survey setting. Biomedical fieldworkers may have previously worked in one of a range of Health and Social Care roles including doctors, nurses, midwives, phlebotomists, health care assistants, paramedics and other healthcare or health research related roles.

Is the survey confidential?


Yes. We take great care to protect the confidentiality of the information people give us. We take careful steps to ensure that the information is secure at all times. Your identity will only be known to certain members of the NatCen, UCL and NHS Digital research teams. We will handle your data in accordance with data protection legislation. The survey report is anonymised - results will not be presented in a form which reveals your identity. We would only have to tell someone else what you say if, during the interview, you tell us about possible harm to yourself or others. For more information relating to data protection please visit: /hse-privacy

Linking survey answers to other information?

For some participants, we will ask for your consent to link some of your NHS health information which NHS Digital hold with your survey answers. If you agree, your name, address and date of birth, but no other information, will be passed to authorised individuals at NHS Digital. You can cancel this permission at any time. This would let us add information about your health to your survey answers and details about dates and causes of death. This will not be asked in telephone interviews.

Follow-up studies?

In the future, NatCen or NHS Digital may want to contact you about follow-up research on health or health services. We will only invite you to take part in follow-up research if you give written consent for this. If you are invited to take part in any future studies you will be free to refuse if you do not want to take part. Follow-up consent will not be asked in remote interviews.

How will the data be used?

The answers you give are put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across England and the survey findings are published in a report. The data we collect as part of the survey is also useful to other people.

A copy of the survey dataset which does not include information which could directly identify you is made - your name, date of birth, address and contact details will be removed from it. Researchers and analysts can apply to use the data for research and statistical purposes and applicants will need to meet strict data governance standards.

Will I be able to see the survey results?

Yes. Each year a report is published about Health Survey results. You can find the reports on NHS Digital’s website:

How long will you keep my data?

The Health Survey has been running since 1991 and gives us very important information about how people’s health has changed over time. To help us do this we would like to keep information about people’s health permanently, so we can look at trends over time. However, you can request that your personal data such as names and addresses and your answers to the interview questions are deleted at any time.

What if I don’t speak English?

The survey is carried out only in English. This means we are not able to include people who do not speak English well enough to take part.

Who has reviewed the study?

The survey has been looked at by an independent group of people called a Research Ethics Committee, to protect your safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity. This study has been given a favourable opinion by the East Midlands Nottingham 2 Research Ethics Committee (Reference no 21/EM/0144).

Thank you very much for your help with this survey

What if I have more questions?

You can find out more about the Health Survey for England, and the way the data are used, at: or / healthsurveyforengland

If you have any queries, or want to request that we change or delete your information, contact us:

Chloe Robinson, Research Director
Kings House, 101-135 Kings Road,
Brentwood, Essex,
CM14 4LX
Tel: 0800 526 397

Dr Logan Manikam, Survey Doctor
Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, UCL,1-19
Torrington Place, London,
Tel: 0786 872 1152

What if I have a complaint about the survey?

Chloe Robinson, Research Director
Tel: 0800 526 397

Carol Babicz, Freelance Resources Supervisor
Tel: 01277 690111 (in office hours)

Or email:

NHS Digital Data Protection Officer

Data Protection Officers are responsible for upholding your rights and making sure we process your information correctly.

If you would like to complain to the Data Protection Regulator, you can contact: Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, SK9 5AF