|News and media|
New Zealand Health Survey starts this weekThe New Zealand Health Survey, which gets underway at the end of this week, will provide valuable information about New Zealanders’ health and their use of health services.
The survey starts in the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions and will roll out to the rest of New Zealand in May.
Coordinated by the Ministry of Health, the survey will collect information about the health services we use, common health conditions and a range of behaviours that affect our health.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Mark Jacobs says survey information provides an important picture of our health, and how we use services such as GPs, hospitals and specialists. It also enables us to develop better health programmes and services for all New Zealanders.
“People will be asked about a range of health-related issues and behaviours, from whether they have diabetes, arthritis, or high blood pressure, to how much physical activity they do and whether they smoke or drink alcohol.”
“The survey will also measure New Zealanders’ access to health services such as GPs and after-hours services. It will look at barriers to care such as cost and whether people can get appointments when they need them.”
He says participants will be asked questions such as whether they would usually see the same GP when they go to their medical centre, and how often they have visited their medical centre, after-hours service or hospital emergency department over the previous 12 months.”
In the past, New Zealand undertook a general health survey about every three years, with a number of separate specialist surveys conducted at different times. From this year, all these surveys have been integrated into a single survey that will be carried out on a rolling basis.
Dr Jacobs says this change is a more efficient and flexible way to collect information. A set of core questions will always be asked, with additional questions on different topics changing every six or twelve months.
Households are randomly selected and invited to take part in the survey. About 14,000 households (both adults and children) will be surveyed every year. Face-to-face interviews will be carried out by trained interviewers from CBG Health Research Limited, a New Zealand health research company.
“Monitoring New Zealanders’ health using a national survey is the best way to measure the size of potential problems, identify which groups are most affected, and what is changing over time.”
In light of the earthquake in Christchurch, planning is underway on how best to involve Christchurch residents in the New Zealand Health Survey, Dr Jacobs says.
“It is important to collect health information on people who have experienced the earthquake. There will be flexibility around the timing of interviews in the Christchurch area to ensure we don’t create additional stress for the people there. We are considering alternatives such as covering the least affected parts of the city first.”
Date: 30 March 2011
For further information, visit the Ministry of Health website www.moh.govt.nz
For media queries, please contact: Luz Baguioro, Media Advisor (04 496 2349, 021 802 622).