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National Bereavement Survey (VOICES) FAQ

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Frequently asked questions about the National Bereavement Survey.

Why is this survey important?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is carrying out the survey on behalf of the Department of Health.

This information supports the NHS Outcomes Framework and the need to gather information to monitor service delivery and further inform service improvements.

The results from the 2011 survey for England will be used to improve care and services for people and their families at the end of life.

It will also report findings for health regions. 

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Why should I take part?

Whatever your circumstances, they are relevant to this survey.

Obtaining information from as many selected respondents as possible is the only way we can get a complete and accurate picture of the end of life care experiences in England.

By taking part in the survey you will ensure that your own views and your families’ experiences become part of the bigger picture of end of life care in England.

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What is involved?

We would like you to fill in a questionnaire called VOICES.

This will take around 30 minutes.

It asks about the care and support both you and your relative / friend received in the last months of their life and whether your relative / friend’s needs were fully met.

Your experiences are very important, so please feel free to be completely open and honest.

Most of the questions can be answered by simply ticking the most appropriate box.

If you would prefer not to answer a question, please go to the next one.

There is space provided for any additional comments that you would like to make.

Answering questions about care at the end of life can bring back painful memories.

We are working with Cruse Bereavement Care services, a charitable organisation that provides help and support to those who have lost loved ones.

If you feel that you would like to talk about your feelings or discuss painful memories brought back by completing the questionnaire, we recommend contacting Cruse Bereavement Care services on +44 (0)844 477 9400 or by email at helpline@cruse.org.uk

We have included a large postage paid envelope for respondents to return the questionnaire to us.

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How will the information I provide be used?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will submit a report to the Department of Health and the information will be shared with local care organisations and providers.

These organisations will use the results of the survey to identify how and where they should be improving services.

They will be able to use the information to monitor any regional variations and to check how different groups are affected by existing service provision.

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Who is carrying out the survey?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is carrying out the survey on behalf of the Department of Health.

ONS is the government's largest producer of statistics.

We compile independent information about the UK's society, economy and health which provides evidence for policy and decision making, and for directing resources to where they are needed most.

The ten-yearly census, measures of inflation, the National Accounts, and population and migration statistics are some of our most high-profile outputs. 

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Is the survey compulsory?

No-one has to take part if they do not want to, but we hope that, if people understand the importance of our work, they will choose to help us and make our surveys successful.

If you do decide to take part you may change your mind or choose not to continue with the research at any time, without having to give a reason for doing so.

Some people find it distressing to think about the care that their loved ones or close friends received during the last year of their lives.

Answering questions about care at the end of life can bring back painful memories. If you find it distressing, you can stop completing the questionnaire at any time and choose not to continue.

If you feel that you would like to talk about your feelings or discuss painful memories brought back by completing the questionnaire, we recommend contacting Cruse Bereavement Care services on +44 (0)844 477 9400 or by email at helpline@cruse.org.uk

However, if you do decide not to complete the questionnaire, please return the reply slip so that the Office for National Statistics does not contact you again regarding this survey.

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Is the survey confidential?

Yes, the information you provide will be treated in strict confidence as directed by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

It will be used to produce statistics that will not identify you or your relative / friend.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will provide the survey responses to the Department of Health and their approved researchers but without any information that identifies you.

If you make comments at the end of the questionnaire, you are asked for additional consent to share these comments in full with local care organisations and providers.

You are not asked to include your name or the name of your relative or friend.

Each person selected to take part has been given a unique identification number and this ensures that the information you provide is totally confidential, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

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Why have I been selected?

You have been chosen to take part because you registered a death in the past year.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is a government department that processes information on death registrations for statistical purposes.

ONS has selected death certificates from their database and used the personal information to contact you, but this information is not shared with anyone outside ONS.

We have selected a particular group for this survey to be representative of all the deceased people in England and so we cannot replace them.

This means your participation is very important to the success of this official survey in ensuring that all groups are properly represented.

However, if you do not think that you are the best person to complete the questionnaire, please pass it on to whoever you feel would be the best person to complete it.

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Who can I contact for further information?

If you have any further queries about taking part in the survey please contact the Survey Enquiry Line on 0800 298 5313.

The line is open Monday to Thursday – 9 am to 9 pm; Friday – 9 am to 8 pm and Saturday – 9 am to 1 pm.

If you feel that you would like to talk about your feelings or discuss painful memories brought back by completing the questionnaire, we recommend contacting Cruse Bereavement Care services on +44 (0)844 477 9400 or by email at helpline@cruse.org.uk.

This is a national charitable organisation that provides help and support to those who have lost loved ones.

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Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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