National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test

If you or a child in your care have been selected to complete the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, your Interviewer may ask if you or the child are willing to take part in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test. As part of the Pilot Test, you or the child will be asked to provide voluntary biomedical (blood and/or urine) samples by visiting a collection centre.

The aim of the Pilot Test is to help the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) prepare for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey. The results from this survey will be used to inform future healthcare policies and public health programs that may be relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for years to come. It will also support research into the relationship between nutrition, exercise, and health status.

The ABS will only use the information collected as part of the Pilot Test to plan for the main study. Statistical products or research will not be produced based on the data from this Pilot Test.
For more information about the Pilot Test, please see our Frequently Asked Questions below, call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member, or watch our NATSIHMS information video.


Frequently Asked Questions for all Survey Participants (Adults, Children, Guardians)
Frequently Asked Questions for Guardians
Frequently Asked Questions for Child Survey Participants (5-17 years)

Frequently Asked Questions for all Survey Participants (Adults, Children, Guardians)

What is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot test?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is conducting the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test. The Pilot Test is part of a study funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health. As part of the Pilot Test we are asking people to voluntarily provide blood and urine samples.

The aim of the Pilot Test is to help the ABS prepare for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey, which will help us to understand the health of Australians, including the prevalence of long-term health conditions, health risk factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, diet and low physical activity levels.

How are the samples from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test used, and why are they important?
Your blood samples will be tested for cholesterol and other lipids (fats) linked to heart disease, and for glucose levels linked to diabetes. Your urine samples will be tested to check for kidney disease.

As this is a Pilot Test, your blood and urine samples will not be included in the final dataset for analysis. Providing your samples for the Pilot Test will, however, help the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to prepare for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey (NATSIHMS), Biomedical test results from the NATSIHMS will be used in the final dataset, and will:
  • Guide future healthcare policies, guidelines and public health programs; and
  • Inform vital research into the relationship between nutrition, exercise and health outcomes.

Is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test voluntary?
Your participation in the Pilot Test is entirely voluntary. This means you can say yes, say no, or you can withdraw from the survey at any time without having to give a reason or feel judged about your decision. If you say no, or choose to withdraw, this will not affect your health care or treatment in any way.

The Pilot Test involves collecting blood and/or urine samples from people aged 12 years and above. Children aged 5-11 years will only be asked to provide a urine sample.

If at any time a participant decides to withdraw from the study, the samples will be placed into clinical waste for destruction as per Sonic Pathology Australia’s standard procedures. All other data will also be removed where it has not been deidentified.

What tests will be done on the blood and urine samples?
The Pilot Test includes a range of biomedical (blood and urine) tests. As a participant you can choose to receive a copy of your test results.

Fasting Plasma Glucose
Measures the level of glucose in the blood after a period of fasting. Having high levels of glucose after fasting for 8-12 hours can mean that someone has diabetes or may be at risk of developing diabetes.

Glycated Haemoglobin (HbA1c)
Non-fasting blood test that measures glucose that is bound to haemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells). Used to diagnose Type 2 diabetes and to monitor how well diabetes is being managed.

Total Cholesterol
Non-fasting blood test that measures the total of all forms of cholesterol - low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglycerides in the blood. High total blood cholesterol is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, but the overall risk depends on the relative amounts of each type of cholesterol (known as the lipid profile).

HDL Cholesterol
Non-fasting blood test that measures the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood. HDL cholesterol is important as it can protect the body from the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol. Low levels of HDL cholesterol can mean a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fasting Triglycerides and LDL Cholesterol
Fasting blood test measures the level of triglycerides in the blood. The level of LDL cholesterol in the blood is not measured directly, it is calculated from results for total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and fasting triglycerides. High levels of LDL cholesterol or triglycerides can mean a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR)
Measures the level of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in the blood after overnight fasting. High levels of LDL cholesterol or triglycerides can mean a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Albumin Creatinine Ratio (ACR)
Test that checks for protein in the urine. Protein in the urine can mean that the kidneys are not filtering blood well. This test is used to identify kidney disease.

Liver Function Tests
Blood test that measures two liver enzymes - Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and Gamma glutamyltransaminease (y-GT or GGT). Elevated liver enzymes can indicate liver inflammation, poor liver function or damage.

Serum Folate
Non-fasting blood test that measures the level of folate in the blood as an indicator of recent folate intake. Folate is an essential vitamin, especially for the first three months of fetal development. Folic acid is added to wheat flour used to make bread in Australia and measuring folate helps to monitor the effectiveness of this food fortification program.

Vitamin B12
Non-fasting blood test to measure the level of vitamin B12 in the blood. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for blood and neurological functions and deficiency can be related to dietary intake.

Serum Ferritin
Non-fasting blood test that measures iron (ferritin) stores. This test is one of several that form part of ‘Iron Studies’ used to assess iron levels. Iron is essential for haemoglobin which is the red cell protein that carries oxygen in the blood. Low ferritin can cause anaemia, a condition where the number of red blood cells and/or the amount of haemoglobin in blood cells is too low. High levels of serum ferritin may indicate inflammation.

C-reactive Protein (CRP)
Non-fasting blood test that measures the level of C-reactive protein in the blood. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation (which may be caused by infection). This test may help interpret high serum ferritin results.

Serum Transferrin Receptor (sTfR)
Non-fasting blood test that measures the amount of transferrin receptor in the blood. This test is one of several that form part of ‘Iron Studies’ used to assess iron levels. Transferrin is a protein that transports iron in the body. High levels of transferrin can indicate low iron levels or iron deficiency.

Haemoglobin
Non-fasting blood test that measures the level of haemoglobin in red blood cells. Haemoglobin is the oxygen carrying component of red blood cells. Haemoglobin levels can be abnormal in a large number of conditions e.g. low in anaemia or high in blood cancer.

Vitamin D
Non-fasting blood test that measures the level of vitamin D in the blood. This test is used to assess vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency can impact bone health.

What are the risks associated with giving blood and urine samples?
By taking part, the participant acknowledges participation (including the collection of the blood and urine samples) is at their own risk.

When giving a blood sample, there is a risk of a small amount of pain or discomfort from the needle. There may also be a small amount of bruising where the needle was inserted. There are no risks associated with giving a urine sample.

If, as a result of providing blood or urine samples as part of your participation in the Pilot Test, you experience any unexpected pain, other than from the risks described above, please immediately inform the ABS by calling 1800 225 437. If you require urgent medical attention please contact your medical service provider first, then notify the ABS.

There is a possibility that your sample results may reveal a medical condition that you were unaware of. If you have agreed, we will provide the test results to your regular doctor. If you have not agreed to your regular doctor being notified and test results find an incidental significant health risk, you will be notified with a recommendation to visit your doctor.

How will the information be kept safe, secure and confidential?
We take the security of your personal information seriously. More information about the personal information we collect can be found in the NATSIHMS Collection Notice.

Samples collected as part of the Pilot Test are held securely and tested by Sonic Pathology Australia. These samples will not be stored for future research. Any personal (identifiable) information about you will be treated and protected as required under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Sonic have comprehensive information security management systems in place to support privacy and data security and even though your samples will be re-identifiable (identified by a code, without your name), they will be subject to Sonic Pathology’s security system. No information or samples will be shared with anyone else, and your personal information will not be shared or given to anyone. Once the tests have been completed, all samples in primary collection tubes (blood) and containers (urine) will be destroyed after 7 days of being received at the central laboratory according to Sonic’s standard clinical waste procedures. For more information, please see Sonic’s Privacy Policy.

Your test results will be joined up with data collected from the earlier interview that you completed; this will give a more comprehensive picture of your health. No information that can identify you will be made available to anyone outside of the ABS. Researchers will have access to information which will be used for research purposes only. You cannot be identified from this information.

Your test results are provided to the ABS and kept confidential under the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Under this Act, ABS staff are legally bound to protect your data. It is an offence to reveal any information collected under this Act. For more information, please see the ABS Privacy Policy.

Has this study been approved by an external ethics committee?
This Pilot Test has received ethics approval from the human research ethics committee of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC). They have agreed that the Pilot Test meets the key principles outlined in the NSW Aboriginal Health Ethics Guidelines: Key Principles.

To discuss the Pilot Test, view a copy of the complaint procedure, or find out more about your rights as a participant with someone not directly involved in the conduct of the survey, you can contact AH&MRC directly using the following details, The Chairperson, AH&MRC Ethics Committee, 35 Harvey Street, Little Bay, NSW, 2036, ethics@ahmrc.org.au.

You can also raise concerns or complaints about the Pilot Test directly with the ABS by calling 1800 225 437.

How do I provide my biomedical samples?
If you are interested in providing blood and/or urine samples, your ABS Interviewer will give you a Participant Information Brochure or show you a short information video, as well as give you a referral form. If you choose to take part, you will be asked to visit a participating collection centre to provide your samples.

Sonic Pathology Australia
You can find a participating collection centre most convenient to you here, or by calling Sonic Pathology Australia on 1800 577 500. Remember to take your referral form with you to the collection centre.

If you find it difficult to go to a collection centre, please let your ABS Interviewer know, or call 1800 225 437 to discuss other options such as a home visit. You will not receive a gift card if you receive a home visit.

Where can I go to provide my biomedical samples?
You can give blood and urine samples at any Sonic Pathology Australia collection Centre.

It is important to attend a Sonic Pathology Australia collection centre so that all participants’ samples are collected and analysed in the same way. You can find a participating collection centre most convenient to you here, or by calling Sonic Pathology Australia on 1800 577 500.

Note that some Sonic Pathology Australia collection centres operate under a different name, for example some collection centres in Sydney may operate as Douglass Hanly Moir, or as Clinpath Pathology services in South Australia.

Please find below a list of collection centres by state:

New South Wales
  • Capital Pathology
  • Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology
  • Southern IML Pathology
  • Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology.

Tasmania
  • Hobart Pathology
  • Launceston Pathology
  • North West Pathology.

Australian Capital Territory
  • Capital Pathology.

Victoria
  • Melbourne Pathology.

Queensland & Northern Territory
  • Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology.

South Australia & Western Australia
  • Clinpath Pathology.

If you find it difficult to go to a collection centre please let your ABS Interviewer know, or call 1800 225 437 to discuss other options such as a home visit. You will not receive a gift card if you receive a home visit.

Do I need to book an appointment for my tests?
No, Sonic Pathology Australia don’t require you to make an appointment to provide blood and urine samples. The opening hours of your nearest participating collection centre are available to you by visiting www.soniccommercialpath.com.au/our-locations, so that you can determine a time to attend that suits you. Some collection centres are open early, which may best suit those people fasting overnight.

Do I have to provide both blood and urine samples?
You can choose to provide both blood and urine samples, blood samples only, or a urine sample only if you are 12 years or over. Children aged 5-11 can only provide urine samples. Children aged 4 and under will not be asked to participate in the Pilot Test sample collection.

Will I be notified about my blood and urine results?
If you agree, a copy of your results will be provided to you within three weeks of attending a collection centre. You can also choose whether to have a copy sent to your doctor.

There is a possibility that your sample(s) results may reveal a medical condition that you were unaware of. If you have agreed, we will provide the test results to your regular doctor. If you have not agreed to your regular doctor being notified and test results find an incidental significant health risk, a representative from Sonic Pathology Australia will be in contact and advise you to urgently seek medical attention.

It is important to remember that this study is not intended to diagnose or treat any health problems you may have and should not replace visits to a doctor or other health professional. If you wish to discuss your test results, please consult your doctor or health professional.

Will I be paid to take part in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test?
No, you will not be paid to take part in the Pilot Test. Once you have attended a collection centre to provide samples you will receive a reimbursement in the form of a $75 gift card to help you with any costs associated with visiting a collection centre, like childcare or travel expenses (no receipts are needed). The gift card should be received within three weeks of your visit to a collection centre.

Gift cards will be emailed or posted to you, depending on the contact details you provided to the ABS Interviewer at the time of your interview.

I want to participate but I’ve lost my form. What do I need to do?
Call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member who will arrange for a referral form to be sent to you.

Once you have received your form, fill in the parts specified for the participant. You can then visit a participating collection centre to provide your samples. You can find a participating collection centre most convenient to you here, or by calling Sonic Pathology Australia on 1800 577 500. Remember to take your referral form with you to the collection centre.

In more remote areas, please contact your interviewer if you have lost your form and would like to participate.

Providing your samples should only take about 10-20 minutes and there is no charge to you. The tests are similar to other blood and urine samples you might have had before. Once you have provided your samples you will receive a $75 gift card to help you with any costs associated with visiting a collection centre, like childcare or travel expenses (no receipts are needed). You should receive your gift card within three weeks of your visit to a collection centre.

I’ve changed my mind and I want to participate. How do I get involved?
Call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member who will arrange for a referral form to be sent to you.

Once you have received your form, fill in the parts specified for the participant. Please remember to sign the consent section. You can then visit a participating collection centre to provide your samples. You can find a participating collection centre most convenient to you here, or by calling Sonic Pathology Australia on 1800 577 500. Remember to take your referral form with you to the collection centre.

In more remote areas, please contact your interviewer if you have changed your mind and would like to participate.

Providing your samples should only take about 10-20 minutes and there is no charge to you. The tests are similar to other blood and urine samples you might have had before. Once you have provided your samples you will receive a $75 gift card to help you with any costs associated with visiting a collection centre, like childcare or travel expenses (no receipts are needed). You should receive your gift card within three weeks of your visit to a collection centre.

I haven’t received my gift card. What do I do?
All gift cards will be posted and addressed to the participant, unless the email out option was selected. It may take up to three weeks after attending the collection centre to receive your gift card. If you haven’t received it within three weeks of providing your samples, please call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member.

If you have a child who has participated, or you are a child who has participated, your gift card will be posted and addressed to the child.

How do I withdraw from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test?
You can withdraw from the Pilot Test at any time. Withdrawing will not affect your ability to participate in future studies. If you decide to withdraw, please call the ABS on 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member.

Your samples will be destroyed after 7 days as per Sonic Pathology Australia’s standard procedures. All other data that has not been de-identified will also be removed.

Who can I contact for more information?
For help or more information about the Pilot Test please call us on 1800 225 437 during business hours. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will return your call as soon as possible.


Frequently Asked Questions for all Guardians

A child in my care has been selected to take part in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test, what will they be asked to do?
The child in your care has been selected to participate in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test. Participation is entirely voluntary – you or the child can say yes or no to taking part. The Pilot Test involves collecting blood and/or urine samples from people aged 12 years and above. Children aged 5-11 years will only be asked to provide a urine sample.

The child can give their samples at any participating collection centre. It will take about 10-20 minutes and there is no cost to you or the child.

For a list of the closest collection centres please:
Visit: www.soniccommercialpath.com.au/our-locations
Call Sonic: 1800 577 500.
Otherwise speak to your Interviewer or call the ABS on 1800 225 437.

When the child arrives, a trained health professional will:
  • Check the details on the referral form
  • Ask if they have any health conditions
  • Take a small sample of blood from their arm near their elbow (for people aged over 12 years only)
  • Ask for a small urine sample.

Does the child in my care have to provide both blood and urine samples?
If you and the child in your care agree to participate in the Pilot Test the child can provide both blood and urine samples, blood samples only, or a urine sample only if they are 12 years or over. Children aged 5-11 can only provide urine samples. Children aged 4 and under will not be asked to participate in the collection.

Who will be notified about the child in my care’s blood and urine results?
If you agree, a copy of the child in your care’s results will be provided within three weeks of attending a collection centre. You can also choose whether to have a copy sent to their doctor.

There is a possibility that their sample results may reveal a medical condition that you or they were unaware of. If you have agreed, we will provide the test results to their regular doctor. If you have not agreed to their regular doctor being notified and test results find an incidental significant health risk, a representative from Sonic Pathology Australia will be in contact and advise the child to urgently seek medical attention.

It is important to remember that this study is not intended to diagnose or treat any health problems they may have and should not replace visits to a doctor or other health professional. If you wish to discuss their test results, please consult their doctor or health professional.

Will the child in my care be paid to take part in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test?
No. The child in your care will not be paid to take part in the Pilot Test. Once they have attended a collection centre to provide samples, they will receive a reimbursement in the form of a $75 gift card to help with any costs associated with visiting a collection centre (no receipts are needed). The gift card should be received within three weeks of their visit to a collection centre.

The gift card will be posted and addressed to the child.

If the child in your care cannot go to a participating collection centre and receives a home visit instead, they will not receive a $75 gift card.

The child in my care hasn’t received their gift card. What do I do?
It may take up to three weeks after attending the collection centre to receive the gift card. If they haven’t received it within three weeks of providing their samples, please call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member.

Remember all gift cards to children will be posted and addressed to the child.

How can the child in my care withdraw from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test?
You or the child can elect to withdraw participation in the Pilot Test at any time. If you decide to withdraw, please call the ABS on 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member.

Their samples will be destroyed after 7 days as per Sonic Pathology Australia’s standard procedures. All other data that has not been de-identified will also be removed.


Frequently Asked Questions for all Child Survey Participants (5-17 years)

How do I participate in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test if I am under 18 years old?
You can choose if you want to take part. Please ask your parent/carer to fill in the guardian consent and referral forms. We will also ask you to complete a form asking for your consent.

Giving samples only takes a few minutes.
  • Blood – a special nurse will use a small needle to collect some blood in a tube from your arm near your elbow. This is only if you are over 12 years old.
  • Urine – the nurse will provide you with a special container to collect some urine when you go to the toilet. The nurse will explain how to do this.

By donating a small amount of your blood and/or urine we can see how healthy you are. Your samples will be sent away to be tested; from this we’ll be able to get a picture of your health. We can learn, for example, about your vitamin levels and how well your kidneys work. The results can also be used to help all Australians live healthier lives.

Do I have to provide both blood and urine samples?
If you are 12 years and over you can choose to provide both blood and urine samples, blood samples only, or a urine sample only. If you are aged 5-11 you can only provide urine samples. Children aged 4 and under will not be asked to participate in the collection.

Please discuss your participation with your parent/carer.

Will I be notified about my blood and urine results?
If you and your parent/carer agree, a copy of your results will be provided to you within three weeks of attending a collection centre. You and your parent/carer can also choose whether to have a copy sent to your regular doctor.

Please discuss your participation with your parent/carer.

Will I be paid to take part in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test?
No. You will not be paid to take part in the Pilot Test. Once you have attended a collection centre to provide samples you will receive a reimbursement in the form of a $75 gift card to help with any costs associated with visiting a collection centre. The gift card should be received within three weeks of your visit to a collection centre.

The gift card will be addressed to you and posted to your address.

If you cannot go to a participating collection centre and receive a home visit instead, you will not receive a $75 gift card.

I haven’t received my gift card. What do I do?
Your gift card will be addressed to you and posted to your address. It may take up to three weeks after attending the collection centre to receive your gift card. If you haven’t received it within three weeks of providing your samples, please call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member.

How can I withdraw from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test?
You can elect to withdraw from the Pilot Test at any time. If you decide to withdraw, please ask your parent/carer to call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member.

Your samples will be destroyed after 7 days as per Sonic Pathology Australia’s standard procedures. All other data that has not been de-identified will also be removed.

Thank You
We acknowledge and value your time and commitment participating in this survey. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.

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