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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Open Consultations
Use of Citrix to access key health applications
Health Survey for England Publications User Feedback Survey
Clinical CPD Event 27 June 2018 - London
Operations Function Away day 5/7/18 - Feedback
Individual GP level data - second report
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Closed Consultations
NDFA Providers Questionnaire V0.3
Clinical Survey
National Diabetes Audit - Type 1 Diabetes (inc. Insulin Pump) Structures Survey
NHSmail Local Administrator webinar - 3 July 2018
Public consultation by NHS Digital on planned amendments to Compenium Indicators
See All Closed Consultations

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 developing our existing publications to align with the NHS BSA data releases and expand and increase the usability of prescribing data as new data sources become available.

You Said

The responses received in the main supported our proposals with one response stating our proposals “need to be bolder!”. 

The only concern raised was about the CCG level prescribing to be discontinued. However, although NHS Digital are discontinuing supplying the data in it’s current format through iView, the NHS BSA will continue to provide CCG level data as requested. We will also work together to determine how to make richer CCG level data available to the public in the future.

You highlighted the following key points in response to our proposals:

  • Support eliminating confusion by merging similarly based publications
  • Essential to keep up with system changes (both NHS and Data)
  • Need to make use of more flexible, accessible and up to date data
  • Improvements in accessibility may generate more interest
  • Topic themed alignment would allow a bigger platform for media coverage to be developed

Therefore, we will take the following steps to support these proposals as detailed in the We Did section.

We Did

CCG level prescribing in iView to be discontinued

The CCG level prescribing data in iView was updated for the last time in June 2018. CCG level prescribing data will still be available from the NHS BSA through their Information Services Portal (ISP) or by requesting the data direct from them. The CCG and older PCT level data currently published in iView will still be available for reference purposes until 2020.

Merge Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA), and the Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community into one annual publication

The Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community is a National Statistics series that mainly repeats and expands the information made available earlier in the year as part of the Prescription Cost Analysis National Statistics series. Following the user consultation and through analysis of usage information and discussion with users, we have identified the user base would have its needs well met by the extra information being released earlier as tables of data, together with information around quality, rather than waiting for a second report to become available with more in depth commentary that repeats previously released figures.

In June 2018 we will publish the last in the series of the Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community. This will be the set of appendix data tables without the contextual commentary and analysis.

In March 2019 the PCA publication will be the single National Statistics publication containing:

  • A set of data tables analysing the latest calendar year of data
  • A set of ten year trend data tables
  • A summary set of percentage changes for the latest year and last ten years by BNF section
  • The set of appendix tables and the ‘Free and charged prescribing’ tables that are normally incorporated in the Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community publication
  • A data quality statement with supporting definitions

We aim to in the future:

  • Introduce age breakdowns and patient numbers
  • Produce granular analysis of PCA data below England level

General Pharmaceutical Services to be published sooner

The General Pharmaceutical Services publication, which is also a National Statistics series, will be brought forward from November to August 2018, further benefitting users through the earlier release of data.

Prescribing of Diabetes to align with other diabetes outputs

The Diabetes publication will move from August to November. This is to align its financial year based data with the latest financial year based data from QOF and the National Diabetes Audit. In addition the publications will all fall on or around World Diabetes Day helping to increase the focus on all the relevant Diabetes data available from NHS Digital.

Prescribing Costs in Hospitals and the Community to move to new data sources

The aim over the coming years is to transition the report to new data sources that are becoming available. The primary care prescribing component will be sourced from the NHS BSA’s new ePACT2 system which brings a number of data improvements, the main one being that prescribing by Dentists will also be included to ensure the whole of primary care prescribing is captured in the costs.

The HPAI data set from IQVIA will continue to be used for secondary care reporting however we will look to add more contextual information alongside it on medicine costs as a new NHS secondary care medicine collection becomes available over the next 2 years.

The result will give users a more comprehensive set of data on the cost of medicines paid by the NHS. There will be a step change in the figures over time as we move to the new data sources, however the aim will be to engage with our customers again at this point in time and create a continually improving publication as these new data sets become available.

Practice Level Prescribing in England to remain the same

NHS Digital will work with the NHS BSA to align their release dates for these products resulting in NHS Digital publishing the data in a more timelier manner in the future.

NICE Technology Appraisals in the NHS in England (Innovation Scorecard) to remain the same

Developments to the Innovation Scorecard are overseen by a Strategic Working Group and Technical Working Group with representatives from key stakeholder organisations such as NICE, Office for Life Sciences, NHS England and industry representatives. Work is on-going with users to improve usability and functionality in association with delivering the requirements from the Accelerated Access Review.

Prescribing Measures to be revised

NHS Digital will work with the NHS BSA to revise the ASTRO-PUs and STAR-PUs with the aim of publishing updated figures later in the summer of 2018.

A review of the ADQs will also take place to determine whether these should be revised or replaced with a more appropriate prescribing measure by the end of the year.


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.