Catalogue description Department of Health: General Household Survey 1994, Follow-up Survey of the Health of People Aged 65 or Over

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Details of JA 6
Reference: JA 6
Title: Department of Health: General Household Survey 1994, Follow-up Survey of the Health of People Aged 65 or Over

The General Household Survey (GHS) is a multi-purpose survey dating from 1971, providing information on aspects of housing, employment, education, health and social services, transport, population and social security. It is a continuous survey based on an achieved sample of about 9,000 households.

The GHS, Elderly follow-up was a pilot study to examine various methodological aspects of the feasibility of carrying out a cohort study, or a series of cohort studies, of the elderly. Comparing successive rounds of the GHS and the Health Survey for England throws some light on health states, but is not nearly as powerful as an approach which looks at changes in health state at the individual level. This follow up survey of GHS respondents is a large scale pilot which collects usable data. A working group on Health Expectancy was set up in 1995 to provide expert help to The Department of Health on the appropriate measures to use in the estimation of health expectancy (the expected number of years of disability-free life). The Working Group advised that health expectancy could not be properly monitored without longitudinal data, because it requires data on transition rates between health states.

It was recommended that the feasibility of collecting the data be investigated by following up and attempting to re-interview respondents aged 65 years and over interviewed in the 1994 General Household Survey (held at the UK Data Archive under SN:3538). The Department of Health commissioned ONS to re-interview approximately 1000 elderly people identified from The National Health Service Central Register, around two and a half years after the GHS interview.

The key data required were those which would enable transition rates between health states to be estimated, but a further aim was to collect information on related issues such as the use of long term care services. The main methodological focus of the pilot survey was to assess the data collection problems in following elderly people and re-interviewing them about their health.

Topics covered in the 1994 General Household Survey: Follow-up Survey of the Health of People aged 65 and over include:

  • Household information;
  • Health state;
  • EuroQol (standardized non disease-specific instrument for describing and valuing health-related quality of life);
  • Sight and hearing;
  • Mental state;
  • Mobility and self-care;
  • Continence;
  • Getting out;
  • Aids and alterations;
  • Domestic tasks;
  • Informal care;
  • Use of services;
  • Smoking and alcohol use;
  • Income;
  • Moving home;
  • Standard Measures.

The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.

Date: 1994-1998

Details of the original hardware, Operating System, application software, and user interface are not known.

Logical structure and schema: The dataset was originally transferred to NDAD as a portable SPSS data file, efu17.por. The data was held as one file or table.

How data was originally captured and validated: Data was collected by means of face-to-face interviews and CAPI computer aided interviewing was used.

The dataset is closed in that once the data was entered it was archived and not subsequently overwritten.

Separated material:

The General Household Survey, 1973 -1997 is held at Essex data archive (reference number: 33090).

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Copies held at:

The General Household Survey: Follow-up Survey of the Health of People aged 65 and over 1994 is also held at the UK Data Archive, (reference number: 3903).

Former reference in The National Archives: CRDA/28
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department of Health, 1988-

Physical description: 2 datasets and documentation
Restrictions on use: The 1994 General Household Survey: Follow-up Survey of the Health of People aged 65 and over dataset and related dataset documentation are subject to Crown Copyright. Date of birth and date of death fields are closed.
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets

Custodial history: This dataset was deposited by the Department of Health at the Economic and Social Research Council Data Archive, University of Essex, before September 1998. It was subsequently deposited at the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) in 2000. The dataset was held there until 2010 when it was transferred to The National Archives (TNA).
Accumulation dates: 1997
Selection and destruction information: Dataset selected in entirety.
Accruals: No further accruals are anticipated as the dataset represents a pilot project.
Unpublished finding aids:

Extent of documentation: 13 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1997-1998

Administrative / biographical background:

The General Household Survey (GHS) is an annual national survey, conducted quarterly, by the Social Survey Division of the Office for National Statistics on behalf of the Department of Health. Prior to April 1996 the surveys were conducted by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. Since the Follow-up Survey of the Health of People Aged 64 or Over operated as a pilot study, it depended on the methodology evolved during previous General Household Surveys.

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