NatCen Social Research, an independent research institute, and University College London (UCL) have been asked by NHS Digital to carry out this survey. NHS Digital is sponsored by the Department of Health 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. Once the survey results have been published we would not be able to change the results by removing individual information. However you can request that your personal data is deleted at any time.
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 and if you are selected, the interviewer will arrange for a qualified nurse to visit at a time that is convenient for you. This is so that some measurements can be taken.
If you agree, the nurse will measure blood pressure (for those aged 5+) and waist and hip measurement (for those aged 11+). For everyone aged 4 and over, the nurse will ask for consent to collect a sample of saliva (spit). For adults, the nurse will also ask for consent to collect a urine sample (for those aged 35+) and a blood sample (for those aged 16+).
The nurse will have to ask you for written permission before he/she can take a sample of saliva, urine or blood. You are of course free to choose not to give a sample, even if you are willing to help the nurse with other things.
The analysis of all the measurements and samples will tell us a lot about the health of the population. During the visit, the nurse will be able to explain the importance of these measurements and answer any questions you may have.
Do I get anything from the survey?
Yes. We can give you a record of your measurements and blood and urine sample results. If you agree, we will also send your blood pressure and blood and urine sample results to your GP. She/he will be able to interpret them for you and give you advice if necessary. Your GP may also want to include the results in any future report about you.
Other benefits from the survey will be indirect and will come from any improvements in health and in health services which result from the survey.
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 and UCL research teams and authorised individuals at NHS Digital. 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: natcen.ac.uk/hse-privacy
Linking survey answers to other information?
For some participants, we will ask for your consent to link some of your NHS health records 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 to your survey answers from your health records and details about dates and causes of death.
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: www.content.digital.nhs.uk/healthsurveyengland
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. You can request that your personal data is 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 15/EM/0254).
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: www.content.digital.nhs.uk/healthsurveyengland or www.natcen.ac.uk/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 Jennifer Mindell, Survey Doctor
Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, UCL,1-19
Torrington Place, London, WC1E 6BT
Tel: 020 7679 5646
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: email@example.com
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