Monday, 3 October 2011

Change to General Lifestyle Survey - No more health questions

From the Royal Statistical Society website. For more information and links see

Health Survey for England statistics will be inferior to General Lifestyle Survey says the UK Statistics Authority

The decision by the Health and Social Care Information Centre to cease its contribution towards the costs of the Office of National Statistics' (ONS) General Lifestyle Survey (GLF) and use the Health Survey for England as an alternative survey vehicle "will not produce statistics consistent with those previously available, or to the same quality", the UK Statistics Authority has told Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

In order to reduce expenditure by £300,000, the ONS will remove the questions on health and health determinants from the GLF from October 2011. Consequently, several long standing National Statistics series on smoking, drinking and the use of health services will end.

In its letter of acknowledgement to the Health Secretary (linked from RSS website), the Statistics Authority says it "will assess whatever new statistical series are created" in the place of these series in order to ensure that the standards of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics are met.

The letter explains the Authority's view "that the best way of collecting the statistics is the way in which they have until now been collected, via the GLF. Users of the existing GLF data have previously highlighted the importance of this source, citing its large sample size, the wide variety of variables it offers for explanatory analysis, and the ability to compare data across Great Britain. Although the Health Survey for England includes many of the health related questions from the GLF, it has a substantially smaller sample size, does not allow country level comparisons and does not include such a wide variety of variables for explanatory analysis."

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