Harmonising alcohol consumption, sales and related outcomes data across the UK and Ireland: an insurmountable barrier to policy evaluation?

Jordan, J.-A., McCann, M. , Katikireddi, S. V. and Higgins, K. (2019) Harmonising alcohol consumption, sales and related outcomes data across the UK and Ireland: an insurmountable barrier to policy evaluation? Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 26(5), pp. 385-393. (doi: 10.1080/09687637.2018.1488948)

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There is a need to ensure public health policies are robustly evaluated to establish their benefits and harms on the population and subgroups. We aimed to assess the comparability of Northern Ireland (NI) and Republic of Ireland (RoI) alcohol-related data to determine their suitability for evaluating the effectiveness of alcohol policies on alcohol consumption, sales, and related outcomes. A comparability analysis of NI and RoI alcohol-related hospital admissions, deaths, consumption, sales, and crime administrative and survey data was undertaken. Data sources were compared, where applicable, in terms of coding systems, population coverage, definitions, quality, response/completion rates, and question similarity. The NI and RoI consumption and sales data were found not to be comparable enough for use in a natural experiment study; comparability for hospital admission data was acceptable. Key barriers to comparability included variations in population coverage and lack of overlap in questionnaire topics. Data access issues made it difficult to fully determine data comparability for alcohol-related crime and deaths. By contrast, NI alcohol-related data were more comparable with other UK countries, making comparisons for the purpose of policy evaluation possible. RoI would benefit from identifying another economically and culturally similar country with comparable alcohol-related data.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project was funded by an Enabling Research Award from HSC R & D Division. MMcC holds a Medical Research Council/University fellowship supported by MRC partnership grant [MC/PC/13 027]. MMcC is part of SPHSU's Complexity in Health Improvement Programme, funded by the Medical Research Council [MC_UU_12017/14] and Chief Scientist Office [SPHSU14]. SVK is funded by a NRS Senior Clinical Fellowship [SCAF/15/ 02] and is part of SPHU's Informing Healthy Public Policy and Measurement and Analysis of Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Programmes [MRC: MC_UU_12017/13 & MC_UU_12017/15 / CSO: SPHSU13 & SPHSU15].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Katikireddi, Dr Vittal and McCann, Dr Mark
Authors: Jordan, J.-A., McCann, M., Katikireddi, S. V., and Higgins, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1465-3370
Published Online:23 July 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 26(5):385-393
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
699162Understanding the impacts of welfare policy on health: A novel data linkage studySrinivasa KatikireddiChief Scientist office (CSO)SCAF/15/02IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU