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New Department of Health surveys to cost €3 million

19 Apr 2014

The Department of Health wants to hire outside experts to carry out annual lifestyle surveys of the population over the next three years, at a potential cost to the Exchequer of more than €3 million.

The annual Healthy Ireland surveys are necessary because Hawkins House is currently relying on the last SLÁN survey, which was published seven years ago, to shape its health strategy.

Because of the significant time lag and economic and social changes in Ireland since then, the Department believes the continued reliance on 2007 data presents a “significant problem and risk for the effective implementation of Healthy Ireland and for measuring and evaluating the health behaviours of the population”.

Published in March last year, Healthy Ireland is the Government’s new national framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of the Irish population.

However, in order for it to be implemented, there is a need for robust research and evidence to “ensure goals, programmes and policy and programme decisions are based on evidence, best practice approaches, and integrated with service delivery to maximise impact”.

The new annual surveys — which will examine the health status of a nationally representative sample of the population aged over 15 — will report on key lifestyle indicators such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet, sexual health and wellbeing to monitor the key trends and policy impacts in those areas.

Face-to-face interviews of at least 5,500 people will take place each year under the move, over the three-year contract, which is expected to cost between €750,000 and €1 million per annum, excluding VAT.

Hawkins House wants delivery of the top-line analysis of year 1 by mid-March 2015.


dara.gantly@imt.ie

Date: 
19 April 2014

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times