Information used by the Public Health service
To deliver public health, the Health and Social Care Act 2012, requires local authorities to use available health data sources to get relevant health and social care information. This data can contain person identifiable data (PID) which may identify patients such as name, address, age, sex, ethnicity, disease, use of hospital services, and/or NHS Number. Some data may not be obviously identifiable, however there may be the potential to deduce individuals’ identities through combinations of information, either by the people handling the data or by those who see published results.
We will have access to the following data:
- Primary Care Mortality Database (PCMD) – The PCMD holds mortality data as provided at the time of registration of the death along with additional GP details, geographical indexing and coroner details where applicable
- Births and Vital Statistics datasets - Births files include date of birth, sex, birthweight, address, postcode, place of birth, stillbirth indicators and age of mother. Deaths data includes: deaths broken down by age, sex, area and cause of death sourced from the deaths register
- Hospital Episode Data (HES) – is a data warehouse containing details of all admissions, outpatient appointments and A&E attendances at NHS hospitals in England. This data is collected during a patient's time at hospital and is submitted to allow hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver. HES data is designed to enable secondary use, that is use for non-clinical purposes, of this administrative data
The Public Health service will access this data and health related information to analyse the health needs and outcomes of the local population and for monitoring trends and patterns of diseases and the associated risk factors.
The Public Health service is committed to using pseudonymised or anonymised information as much as is practical, and in many cases this will be the default position. Pseudonymisation is a procedure by which the most identifying fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms. There can be a single pseudonym for a collection of replaced fields or a pseudonym per replaced field.
The purpose is to render the data record less identifying and therefore lower customer or patient objections to its use. Anonymisation is the process of removing identifying particulars or details from (something, especially medical test results) for statistical or other purposes.
All information accessed, processed and stored by public health staff will be used to measure the health, mortality or care needs of the population; for planning, evaluating and monitoring health; protecting and improving public health. It is used to carry out and support:
- health needs assessments
- health equity analysis
- commissioning and delivery of services to promote health and prevent ill health
- public health surveillance
- identifying inequalities in the way people access services
- joint strategic needs assessment
- health protection and other partnership activities
The legal basis for the flow of data for the above purposes is set out in Section 42(4) of the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) as amended by section 287 of the Health and Social Care Act (2012) and Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002. The process for opting out will depend on the specific data and to which programme it relates. Our lawful basis under GDPR when using your information to exercise our official functions are: performance of a task carried out in the public interest, Article 6(1)(e); management of a health or social care system, Article 9(2)h; reasons of public interest in the area of public health, Article 9(2)(i).