4363.0 - National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2017-18  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2019   
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Other long-term conditions


A long-term condition is defined as a condition that is current and has lasted, or is expected to last, for 6 months or more. This module collects other long-term conditions not previously collected in specific conditions modules (e.g. diabetes, cancer, asthma) and do not need to have been diagnosed by a health professional (i.e. ‘medically’ diagnosed).


Information was obtained for all persons in the NHS.


Respondents were asked whether they had any other long term health conditions that had lasted, or were expected to last, for 6 months or more via a prompt card containing the following conditions:

    • Hayfever
    • Sinusitis or sinus allergy
    • Food allergy
    • Drug allergy
    • Other allergy
    • Anaemia
    • Bronchitis
    • Emphysema
    • Epilepsy
    • Fluid problems / fluid retention / oedema (excluding those due to heart or circulatory conditions)
    • Hernias
    • Kidney stones
    • Migraine
    • Psoriasis
    • Stomach ulcers or other gastrointestinal ulcers
    • Thyroid trouble / goiter
    • Back - slipped disc or other disc problems
    • Back pain or other back problems.

More than one response was allowed.

Those who reported back pain or other back problems were asked to provide more information about the back pain or back problem.

Those who reported having a food or drug allergy were asked whether their reaction to food or drugs is:
    • Anaphylactic
    • Non-anaphylactic
    • Both.

Respondents were then asked to report any other conditions (not included on the previous list or reported earlier in the survey) that had lasted, or were expected to last, for 6 months or more including:
    • Conditions that recur from time to time
    • Conditions that have lasted for a long time and that may have been adjusted to
    • Conditions which are under control because of long term treatment or taking medication.

There was capacity to report up to six other conditions. If more than six conditions were identified the six main conditions were recorded.

Finally, respondents were asked whether they had any other long-term conditions (apart from many conditions they had already reported) such as the following (shown on a prompt card):
    • Amputation or loss of limbs, e.g. arm, foot, finger
    • Behavioural or emotional disorders
    • Deformity or disfigurement from birth, e.g. club foot, cleft palate
    • Other deformity or disfigurement, e.g. effects of burns
    • Dependence on drugs or alcohol
    • Gallstones
    • Incontinence
    • Paraplegia or other paralysis
    • Speech impediment.

There was capacity to report up to six other conditions. If more than six conditions were identified the six main conditions were recorded. A follow-up question was asked to confirm the long term status of conditions reported here.

If a condition reported in this module was one that was previously covered in its individual condition module, a follow-up question was asked to determine whether the condition was diagnosed (i.e. whether the respondent had been told by a doctor or nurse that they had the condition).

Data items

The questionnaire, data items and related output categories for this topic are available in pdf / Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


Points to be considered in interpreting this topic include:
    • The conditions data collected in the 'Other long-term conditions' module relate to conditions 'as reported' by respondents and do not necessarily represent conditions as medically diagnosed. However, as the data relate to conditions which had lasted, or were expected to last, for six months or more, there is considered to be a reasonable likelihood that medical diagnoses would have been made in most cases. The degree to which conditions have been medically diagnosed is likely to differ across condition types.
    • While the methodology was aimed at maximising the identification of long-term conditions, some under-reporting may have occurred, particularly in respect of those conditions which are controlled by treatment (such as epilepsy) or recur infrequently, or those to which respondents have become accustomed and no longer consider an illness.

Comparability with 2014-15

Long-term conditions data are generally considered comparable between 2017-18 and 2014-15.

Specific prompting for food allergy and drug allergy was introduced in 2011-12 and onwards, in addition to the general allergy category used in previous cycles. This additional prompting has resulted in a significant increase in allergy responses and as a result allergy data should be compared prior to 2011-12 with caution.

More information regarding comparisons between 2014-15 NHS and previous cycles is available in the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2014-15 (cat. no. 4363.0).