​​​What we use your information for ​​

Improving, planning and managing care services – population data


We use the above types of data to plan health care services. Specifically, we use it to:
  • Check the quality and efficiency of the health services we commission;
  • Prepare performance reports on the services we commission;
  • Work out what illnesses people will have in the future, so we can plan and prioritise services and ensure these meet the needs of patients in the future; and
  • review the care being provided to make sure it is of the highest standard.
  • Care providers, such as general practices, acute and mental health hospitals, community services, walk in centres and nursing homes, sometimes share information with each other to facilitate your direct care. 

The law provides some NHS bodies, particularly NHS Digital, ways of collecting sensitive personal data directly from care providers for secondary purposes, such as evaluating care provided at population level.

Data may be linked by these special bodies so that it can be used to improve health care and development, and monitor NHS performance. In some cases there may also be a need to link local datasets, which could include a range of acute-based services such as radiology, physiotherapy and audiology, as well as mental health and community-based services such as IAPT, district nursing and podiatry.

The dataset collected from secondary care providers, for example hospitals, by NHS Digital is referred to the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) is the single, comprehensive repository for healthcare data in England which enables a range of reporting and analyses to support the NHS in the delivery of healthcare services. When a patient or service user is treated or cared for, information is collected which supports their treatment. For further information, please visit NHS Digital’s website: http://digital.nhs.uk/sus 
The following are the types of organisations NHS Digital receives data from, and then forwards on to our data processor in an anonymised format or a de-identified format with NHS Number in order to link and analyse the data. 

Where data is used for these statistical purposes, stringent measures are taken to ensure individuals cannot be identified.

Types of organisations and types of information we receive:

  •  Acute Trusts – Hospitals, for example Croydon University Hospital We receive anonymised acute data such as A&E attendances, waiting times, diagnosis, treatments, and follow ups, length of stay, discharge information and next steps.
  •  Community trusts or community organisations, for example Purley War Memorial Hospital. We receive anonymised community data such as outpatient information, waiting times, diagnosis and treatments, referrals and next steps, domiciliary and district nursing (which includes home visits) and community rehabilitation units.  
  • Mental Health Trusts or Mental Health organisations, for example South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.We receive anonymised mental health data such as rehabilitation and outpatient attendances, waiting times, diagnosis, treatment, length of stay, discharge, referrals and next steps. 
  • Primary Care organisations, for example your local GP practice. We receive anonymised primary care data such as attendances, diagnosis, treatment, GP or GP practice visits, referrals, medication/prescriptions information and follow-ups. 
  • We may also contract with other organisations to process this data. We ensure external data processors that support us are legally and contractually bound to operate this process. They must be able to prove security arrangements are in place where data that could or does identify a person is processed.
  • Currently, the external data processors we work with include (amongst others):
  • NHS South East Commissioning Support Unit 
process.png