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National Study on Flooding and Health
Following the 2014 winter floods, Public Health England identified a number of priorities to help improve understanding of the health impacts from flooding and this “National Study on Flooding and Health” will be one of the first to measure the long term health and wellbeing impacts as a result of flooding.
This study will provide an opportunity to learn about the medium to longer term mental health outcomes of having one’s house flooded or being otherwise disrupted by the floods in the neighbourhood, filling both a previously identified research gap and a clear policy need. It is intended that this study will help inform future public health and health service response as well as planning for flooding.
The study is being co-ordinated by Public Health England with university researchers from King’s College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. We are also working closely with local councils, who have told us which areas were affected by storms and floods.
At the beginning of January, 2015, nearly 8,000 householders across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Kent and Surrey will be invited to join the study and be asked to complete a health questionnaire.
We want to hear from people directly affected by flooding, those whose lives were disrupted and also from those who were unaffected but live in the area. This will allow us to build up an accurate picture of factors that protect and affect health.
This study is entirely voluntary and it is up to each person to decide whether they would like to take part or not. Once a resident agrees to take part and gives their consent, they are going to be followed up for as long as it seems appropriate for a project that is focused on long term health impacts of severe weather. It is expected that the study will continue for a period of 10 years. .
Information provided will be identified only with a unique ID number and any identifiable information such as age and gender will only be accessed by members of the study team for the purpose of statistical analysis. No one from outside the team conducting the study will be allowed access to the data and the investigators will not be informing GPs, insurance companies or anyone else about any of the information that provided. The information will only be analysed for patterns in terms of anonymous groups of people, and a project governance group has been set up to approve any analysis by researchers.
We are also inviting participants to join a study group to support the project and keep track of its progress.