|The Welsh Health Survey (WHS) collects information about the health of people living in Wales, the way they use health services, and the factors that can affect their health. The current WHS series was commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), and carried out in both 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 by a consortium comprising the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), Beaufort Research Limited, and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. In 2005-2006, NatCen had sole responsibility for conducting the survey and this has continued with the 2007, 2008 and 2009 surveys.
The new WHS replaces two previous study series: the previous WHS, conducted in 1995 and 1998 (the 1998 WHS is held at the UK Data Archive under SN 4176), and the Health in Wales Survey which was conducted five times in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1996 (none are currently held at the Archive). Users should note that results from the new WHS survey are not comparable with those from the previous surveys, because of differences in the questionnaires and survey methodology.
The new WHS is designed to:
The WHS is based on a representative sample of adults aged 16 and over living in private households in Wales. In addition, up to two children aged 0 to 15 were randomly selected from each household.
- provide estimates of health status, health determinants and health service use
- contribute to setting and monitoring targets and indicators in the health strategies and National Service Frameworks
- examine differences between population subgroups (such as sex, age, social class) and local areas
- provide a direct measurement of need for health care for National Health Service resource allocation in Wales
- provide local health board- and local authority-level information for the development of joint local health, social care and well-being strategies
From 2007, more extensive survey elements for children were introduced than had been used for previous years of the WHS. Three age-specific questionnaires were used for children selected to participate in the survey. Two questionnaires were given to parents to complete on behalf of selected children aged 0 to 3, and selected children aged 4 to 12; a third questionnaire was given to selected children aged 13 to 15 to complete on their own behalf. In addition, interviewers were asked to take height and weight measurements of selected children aged between 2 and 15 years, if children and parents consented. Results from this survey are not comparable with those from the previous surveys because of differences in the questionnaires and survey methodology.
Further information about the WHS, including links to publications, may be found on the Welsh Assembly Government's WHS web pages.
For the second edition (February 2011), the Welsh Health Survey All Waves User Guide was added to the study documentation.
The main topics covered for adults are health service use, health status, medicines, illnesses and other health problems, and health-related lifestyle (including smoking, alcohol, diet and exercise).
The main topics for children are health status, health service use, accidents, illnesses and other health problems, eating habits, physical activity and strengths and difficulties.