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Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care

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Health Survey for England (HSE)

Principal researchers: Chloe Robinson and Professor Jennifer Mindell

The Health Survey for England (HSE) is a series of annual surveys about the health of people living in England. The survey started in 1991 and has been carried out annually since then. It is commissioned by NHS Digital . Since 1994, the survey has been carried out by the HSE team of the Health and Social Survey Research group at the Department of Epidemiology at UCL with NatCen Social Research. The survey is used to help plan NHS services, look at ways of improving people's health and changes to the nation's health over time, and at inequalities in health.

HSE includes adults aged 16 and over, and since 1995 has also included children aged 2-15. From 2001 onwards, the survey covers all ages, but certain age groups are asked questions on certain topics only. Information about children aged under the age of 13 is obtained from a parent, with the child present and obtained directly from persons aged 13 years and over.

An interview with each eligible person in the household is followed by a nurse visit for those who agree to take part. The HSE includes a set of core questions, asked each year on general health and psycho-social indicators, smoking, alcohol, demographic and socio-economic indicators, questions about use of health services and prescribed medicines and measurements of height, weight and blood pressure.

Topics

Each year, there is also a particular focus on a population group, disease or condition. Topics are repeated at appropriate intervals in order to monitor changes with time. A list of topics included in the household questionnaire, individual questionnaire, and nurse visit can be downloaded here.

Examples of key topics to date are: 

• the health of children, young people, and infants and mothers in 1997 and 2002

• asthma, accidents, and disability in 1995 and 1996; asthma in 2018

• cardiovascular disease in 1993, 1994, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2011 and 2017

• attitudes and beliefs in 2007

• physical activity and fitness in 2008, 2012, 2015 (children) and 2016 (adults)

• the health of older people in 2000 and 2005

• the health of minority ethnic groups in 1999 and 2004

• respiratory health and lung function in 1999, 2000 and 2010 

• kidney disease in 2009, 2010 and 2016 

• sexual health in 2010 

• wellbeing in 2010 and 2011

• social care in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018

• hearing, mental health, planning for social care in 2014

• liver disease in 2016

• use of GP services and counselling services in 2019

Health Survey for England 2019

The latest survey report, HSE 2019, included use of GP services and counselling services, in addition to the regular reports.  Further details on the content and findings of the survey can be found at NHS Digital

Publications:

Each year’s report from HSE 2004 onwards can be found on NHS Digital’s website.

The most recent publications are listed below:

-Fuller E, Mindell J, Prior G (eds) (2018) Health Survey for England 2018, London: NHS Digital.

There are also HSE 2018 key findings as infographics and brief statements.

- Fuller E, Mindell J (eds) (2018) Health Survey for England 2017, London: NHS Digital.

HSE 2017 key findings.

- Fuller E, Mindell J (eds) (2017) Health Survey for England 2016, London: NHS Digital.

- Fuller E, Mindell J, Prior G (eds) (2016) Health Survey for England 2015, London: NHS Digital.

- Craig R, Fuller E, Mindell J (eds) (2015) Health Survey for England 2014, London: The Health and Social Care Information Centre.

- Craig R, Mindell J (eds) (2014) Health Survey for England 2013, London: The Health and Social Care Information Centre.

- Craig R, Mindell J (eds) (2013) Health Survey for England 2012, London: The Health and Social Care Information Centre.

- Craig R, Mindell J (eds) (2012) Health Survey for England 2011, London: The Information Centre.

- Craig R, Mindell J (eds) (2011) Health Survey for England 2010, London: The Information Centre.

Datasets

The datasets for the Health Survey for England are available through the ESRC Data Archive at Essex University which is the largest national resource of computer readable copies of social science and humanities data in the United Kingdom. Further information can be obtained from:

The Data Archive
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester
Essex CO4 3SQ
Telephone 01206 872001
Fax 01206 872003
Email:
archive@essex.ac.uk

The full set of questions for each year’s survey are published in the Methods and Documentation Report. In addition, questions and measurements are also available at the EU Health Survey Information Database (EUHSID).

In 2011, the Health Survey for England was part of the pilot European Health Examination Survey (EHES).

Further Information
Information about the Health Survey for England is also available from: