Health and social care are devolved matters in the UK. Within England, the decentralised nature of the official health and care statistics system means that a number of organisations are involved in the collection of data and the publication of a range of statistical outputs. As noted by the Office for Statistical Regulation in 2016: “Statistics are published on a variety of different websites, in different formats, with no single portal available to guide researchers or the public”.
To help users find the information they need, we have introduced:
- a health and care statistics landscape for England – this experimental output provides links to a range of official statistics produced across government organisations;
- English Health Statistics Steering Group (EHSSG) theme groups – which bring together producers of official health and care statistics together to ensure relevant, coherent and accessible health and care statistics are meeting user needs;
- the Health & Care Monthly Knowledge Update – a monthly email that brings together information, resources, and official statistics on health and care. The newsletter includes an annexe (please note: you may need to enable macros to use this document) of all health and care releases published in the last month and coming up next month.
The English Health Statistics Steering Group has been integral in driving these approaches forward along with the Health & Care Publications Advisory Board. Together, a work plan was agreed, and will be regularly updated in light of new challenges and developments.
We welcome your feedback on these products.
What are health and social care statistics used for?
Health and care statistics provide essential information about trends in the population (births and deaths), patterns of medical conditions and need for healthcare (mortality by cause, mental health issues, disease incidence), and the activity and effectiveness of health services (hospital episodes, cancer survival).
Statistics on births and deaths are widely used to plan services at national and local levels, develop government policy on major topics such as pensions, allocate local government and NHS funding according to need, and measure changes over time and inequalities between geographical areas and social groups.
Disease and medical condition-specific statistics, whether from death certificates, hospital records, GP records or patient surveys, are central to planning and evaluating health services. These data sources are also one of the most important contributors to scientific knowledge about population health (epidemiology) and wellbeing and provide evidence for many kinds of medical research.
An important area of health statistics is the reporting of health and social care activity, such as numbers of patients treated. The publication of this information makes it possible to understand the workloads of different services, study trends in demand and supply, and compare the performance and quality of services of different areas and organisations.