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Covid-19 Coronavirus - Advice for Members

January 6th, 2021

Updated 6 Jan 2021 

This bulletin gives you our latest advice on navigating the current public health crisis, with a focus on being sensitive to the pressures on healthcare professionals at this time.

Joint statement from the Chairs of the BHBIA Board, Ethics & Compliance Committee and Fieldwork Forum 

We hope that all our members and associates are staying safe and well, and managing to navigate your businesses through these difficult times, whilst looking forward with optimism to the vaccine roll-out and a return to normality. 

In view of the current unprecedented pressure on the NHS, we are providing updated guidance with regard to market research fieldwork, as we head into another national lockdown:

Current BHBIA guidance 

We have a responsibility to protect all participants (respondents and interviewers) and the reputation of our industry. 

Face-to-face research should not be carried out in the current environment unless it is truly essential work that cannot be done any other way; even then it must be preceded with careful and thorough risk analysis. We would expect any such work to be truly exceptional. This is in line with the latest guidance from the Market Research Society (MRS)

Additionally, members are urged to avoid non-essential contact and delay non-urgent contact with Covid frontline healthcare professionals for market research purposes, via any medium, during this health emergency. (By ‘Covid frontline’ we mean HCPs such as intensive care or respiratory specialists, i.e. those under significant additional work pressure.) 

We are not suggesting that there should be a stop to all primary market research; indeed there is a crucial role for healthcare market research and data analytics at this time. We know that, throughout the pandemic, many healthcare professionals have been able and willing to participate in MR, but we need to stay flexible as the circumstances of individuals or groups may change at any time. We ask that members give careful consideration to any communications with HCPs and are sensitive to the challenges they are facing. 

With regard to non-HCPs, it would obviously be wise to consider any potential sensitivities/individual circumstances that might warrant a cautious approach.

Paul O'Nions - BHBIA Chairman 

Matt Beckett - Chair, BHBIA Ethics & Compliance Committee 

Adam Irwin - Chair, BHBIA Fieldwork Forum 

Further information

The BHBIA continues to add relevant updates and guidance to our Covid-19 Information and Resources hub. Please keep an eye on this page. It includes many useful resources from other industry associations, in particular the MRS (see their full suite of Covid-19 guidance here), plus research and trackers conducted by member companies, and is regularly updated. 

MR fieldwork can continue in these difficult times, however all partners in the MR chain must take an ethical and sensitive approach.  We must adapt, be flexible and keep in close touch with what’s happening ‘on the ground’.