National Study on Flooding and Health – Wiltshire residents asked to participate

Public Health England (PHE) is to conduct the first ever long-term study into the impact of flooding on health and wellbeing.

As part of the national study, PHE will be in contact with flood affected residents across the country.

From today (Monday 12 January 2015), supported by Wiltshire Council, PHE is asking a sample of householders in Wiltshire affected by the severe flooding last winter to complete a health questionnaire.

PHE wants to hear from people directly affected by flooding, those whose lives were disrupted and in order to compare the possible impacts of the flooding, they also want to hear from those in the area that were unaffected.

If you get a questionnaire, please don’t ignore it. By completing and returning it, you will be helping PHE understand the possible impacts of flooding on health.

Dr Isabel Oliver, Director of Field Epidemiology Service at Public Health England and co-ordinator of the study, said:

“This is the first ever long term study into the impact of flooding on health and wellbeing. We are writing to households across the country and we very much hope that people will return our questionnaire and join this important study.

“So, if you receive a letter from Public Health England inviting you to take part in this important study, please help us to build a picture of how the floods affected people’s lives by completing it and returning it to us.

“It only takes 20 minutes and your participation in this research project could be crucial.”

Dr James Rubin, Senior Lecturer at King’s College London, said:

“We know that being flooded can sometimes have a serious effect on someone’s wellbeing. But there are still so many uncertainties about what the impacts of flooding are.

“We really need people in Wiltshire to help us understand these issues, so we can find ways to better protect and help people in the future.”

Heather Shepherd, Flood Community & Recovery support specialist from the National Flood Forum, said:

“As all those who have been flooded will know only too well, flooding is devastating, the anxiety can be unbearable and the process of your home being repaired is often worse than the flooding itself.

“Once you have experienced flooding you live in constant fear of it happening again which impacts on people being able to live their lives in an ordinary fashion.

“We wholeheartedly welcome this long term study into the effect flooding has on health and wellbeing. We would encourage people to take part as the findings will hopefully start to give an understanding of the distressing impact that flooding has on lives.”

Maggie Rae, corporate director at Wiltshire Council, said: 

“Wiltshire has been hard hit by flooding in the recent past and we work very closely with local communities on flood prevention measures and also ensuring that appropriate financial support is available to those affected.

“We know that the devastating impact of flooding can bring with it a knock on effect on health and wellbeing. I’d urge people to complete this survey to help build a better overall picture of the full impact of flooding.”