Consultation Hub


This site provides access to a number of consultations run by NHS Digital.

You can view our open and recently closed consultations below, or you can search for a consultation by keyword.

Featured: Health Survey for England Publications User Feedback Survey

The Health Survey for England (HSE) is a series of surveys designed to monitor trends in the... More

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We Asked, You Said, We Did

Here are some of the issues we have consulted on and their outcomes. See all outcomes

We Asked

We asked for your support in deciding whether to rationalise the days on which we publish official statistics or to continue to publish as we do now on every week day except Mondays or the days that follow a public holiday.

You Said

Fifty-nine per cent of you supported a change to publish on either one (34%) or two (25%) days of the week, whereas 41% voted for no change. Those responses supporting a reduction in the number of days we publish during the week, most commonly cited “Ease of access”, “Staff pressures and “Coherence” as reasons. Those who favoured no change most highlighted “Ease of access”, “Timeliness” and “Wider visibility” as reasons in support of their position, all of which we have taken into consideration in our new release strategy.

You highlighted the following broad reasons, which are listed in the order of the frequency they were raised:

  1. Ease of access (if all publications are released on one or the same day each week some responded it would make anticipating release days easier, while others responded it would decrease visibility if multiple important but unrelated publications came out on the same day)
  2. Staff pressures (for those requiring data from NHS Digital to perform their own analysis, some highlighted fewer release days would make planning and structuring work patterns simpler, while others highlighted an increase in workload on publication days)
  3. Timeliness (some were concerned that a rationalisation of dates would cause delays to the availability of statistics)
  4. Coherence (some users highlighted that similar themed publications released together is helpful, including when coordinated across multiple statistics producers)
  5. Wider visibility (some highlighted that releasing publications on the same day could diminish the visibility of some through media and other channels if on unrelated themes)

Therefore, we will take several measures to address these concerns as detailed in the We Did section.

We Did

From June 2018 we will wherever possible consolidate publications on a specific topic on a single day (theme day) and provide a high-level overview of the findings alongside the individual publications. This should improve coherence of releases.

Most publications will be released on Thursday and we plan to develop a web page giving an overview of each Thursday’s releases improving ease of access. We expect some publications to speed up and some to slow down by potentially a couple of days. Exceptions to the Thursday release pattern will be made for very rapid turn-around publications to preserve their timeliness; particularly congested periods where our most substantial reports may be released on other days to ensure wider visibility; and reports that are aligned to other days due to the significance of that particular date or external related releases on that date to ensure coherence.

We will review how well this is achieving its objectives after a few months of implementation and make any further adjustments in line with user feedback.

We Asked

We asked you to comment on the proposals for a new data standard and process to assign the correct commissioner code in commissioning data sets. The flow chart and supporting guidance was developed to provide a consistent approach for identifying the correct commissioner. This was required for cases where there may be a conflict in which code is required first, or where the commissioner may be difficult to determine, such as in Specialised care, cross border care, and military and offender health settings.

You Said

47 responses were received on the proposed standard. 100% of responses felt there was a need for a consistent and accurate Commissioner Assignment Method, and there were some positive comments in the value of having a single agreed guidance for this process and local variations observed.

91% thought that the method should be expanded to other data sets (Maternity, Children, Community, Diagnostic and Mental Health) however some comments were made arguing against this saying that it would be difficult to implement these changes in clinical systems in other areas. It was noted that in some data flows such as the Diagnostic Imaging Data Set, the commissioner code is derived in SUS, so that for the diagnostic imaging data set this could be applied in the SUS data.

The guidance was seen as comprehensive, but perhaps not as clear as it could be in all areas. 87% of responses agreed with the logic, but some potential errors were identified, particularly regarding patients living in the England-Wales border area. You emphasised that there may be local mismatches between funding and the identified commissioner in some areas, due to legacy issues.

To implement the standard, it was suggested that it could take six months to interpret and check the compliance of local systems. There was mixed feedback about the need for a tool to implement the CAM; Sample SQL code or example implementations was highly valued by respondents, however it was noted there would be much variation in the way that the algorithm would be implemented. There were some requests for peer support and networking to support implementation.

We Did

NHS England has made changes to the guidance, and published it on its website as a guidance document.

To make the guidance available to all as soon as possible, NHS England has published the 15/16 work as guidance on its website - The CAM will be proposed as part of the 16/17 standard contract for NHS England to support implementation.

Thanks to the thorough feedback, errors were identified in our interpretation of the Welsh Border protocol, which has been corrected in the process. An issue was identified where the headquarters postcode of a trust may not be ideal for identifying the host CCG, and a clarification was made in the guidance to account for this. Guidance was changed to use GP Practice not General Practitioner to derive CCG. It has been acknowledged that there may be discrepancies between local commissioning arrangements and the commissioner code in the short term.

We have attempted to improve the diagram, and make certain parts of the guidance easier to follow. Some of the dependencies on other documents and processes are unavoidable, for example there is a dependency on Organisational Data Service files and the Prescribed Specialised Services Tool, these are independent services and including them would be beyond the scope of this work, and including copies of these data in the CAM guidance will make version control difficult. We will take on the feedback and improve for future versions where possible, and include links to the resources on our website.

We are looking into developing an example SQL implementation. We will be happy to talk with all survey respondents and set up a virtual network.

We Asked

One of the roles of NHS Digital (Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)) is to ensure a systematic and coherent approach to the scrutiny of requests for data releases. Our increasing obligations under both the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and the Care Act 2014 triggered a review of the current governance arrangements and consequent decision to close the Data Access Advisory Group (DAAG).

The proposals for the establishment of IGARD to replace DAAG give that group an expanded remit and are designed to enable improvements in decision-making in respect of data releases, specifically through increasing:

  • transparency
  • accountability
  • participation
  • quality
  • consistency.

As an organisation, we are also working to strengthen public confidence in our work and to significantly enhance our public reputation.

This consultation invited feedback on the draft terms of reference for the proposed new Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD).

You Said

Forty-three organisations and individuals responded and the replies have demonstrated the scope of the challenge facing NHS Digital - to strike a balance between corporate and information governance and to make data available for legitimate purposes to the wider health and care community. More information is available in the consultation report.

We Did

More information on IGARD and DAAG is available on the NHS Digital website.