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Annual Healthy Ireland survey suspended because of Covid-19

The annual Healthy Ireland survey conducted on behalf of  the Department of Health by Ipsos MRBI is “currently suspended” because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this newspaper has learned.

The Medical Independent (MI) asked the Department of Health whether this year’s survey would be impacted by the pandemic and whether the questions in the survey would be changed to reflect the new Covid-19 reality

“Fieldwork on the 2020 wave of the Healthy Ireland survey is currently suspended due to the Covid-19 situation,” a Department of Health spokesperson told MI on Wednesday 22 April.

“Under normal circumstances, the survey is conducted by computer-aided personal interview (CAPI), in respondents’ own homes, and while fieldwork has begun late in 2019, this was suspended in early March 2020.

“The situation regarding further work on the survey this year is kept under review by the Department, in conjunction with Ipsos MRBI which carries out the survey on behalf of the Department.”

The Healthy Ireland survey is an annual face-to-face survey. Interviews are conducted with a representative sample of the population aged 15 and older living in Ireland. The sample size is typically in the region of over 7500 people. The first wave of the annual survey was carried out during 2014/2015 and the first survey report was published in October 2015.

The annual survey is intended to give an up-to-date picture of the health of the nation and reports on many lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, active travel, diet and nutrition, health service utilisation patterns, mental health and sexual health.

Asked what the Healthy Ireland section of the Department of Health is focused on during the current pandemic, the Department spokesperson told MI that “the main Covid-19 related work underway in the Healthy Ireland programme in the Department of Health has been in the development, along with the HSE and other cross-Government partners, of an initiative to support mental health and wellbeing during Covid-19.

“A new online resource at offers advice to help people cope at home and will promote the mental health supports and resources available on the HSE’s”

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