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Publishing and sharing screening data with partners

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Screening data is available to the public on a number of websites.

Mathematical equations written out in geometric patterns.

This data is essential for several purposes, including:

  • being open and transparent about screening performance
  • informing decision makers
  • annual reporting
  • highlighting innovation

The aim of this blog is to help you find the data you need and to give you some information about how we collect, develop, share and use data effectively.

Screening data comes from a variety of data collection systems. PHE Screening division staff bring these sources together and collate and prepare the data for publication.

The range of data is complex and we cannot collate all of it easily. We are working with colleagues in PHE and NHS England to produce reports that are useful at a number of levels or areas, such as PHE centres, NHS England local offices or local authorities.

In some cases, for example, antenatal key performance indicators (KPIs), data is only available by provider level.

The following table shows the main sources where screening data is currently in the public domain.

Web link Reporting area Reporting period
Public Health Outcomes Framework Local authority Annual
Screening KPIs Provider, CCG, local screening programme Quarterly, Annual
Official stats – breast screening Local authority Annual
Official stats – cervical screening Local authority Annual
National GP profiles Practice level Annual

Some data is currently only available as official statistics governed by NHS Digital (formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre). PHE Screening division staff working with the NHS England are aware there is a need for more frequent, timely data that allows:

  • identification of local good practice or areas to be improved
  • comparison between appropriate areas
  • assessment of improvement activities
  • active management of provider performance

That is why we've developed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to describe the working relationship between PHE Screening and NHS England for the purpose of data sharing. Data shared in this way is released before official statistics publications. We share it for management purposes only to improve the quality of services.

This data is available to NHS England and public health commissioning teams to:

  • monitor the performance of screening providers
  • support directors of public health and their teams to ensure screening programmes improve the health of local populations

NHS England can further share the data with public health professionals, for example PHE centre directors, local authorities, directors of public health, clinical commissioning groups and voluntary organisations. This can only happen if it complies with the terms of the MoU to ensure data security and confidentiality.

Reports are being developed to share this data. This single data set will provide assurance to the wider public health system and strengthen quality and consistency at all levels.

Each NHS England local team has a point of contact for requests. The ability to ask for this data enables the local public health system to seek assurance that population needs are being met in an equitable way. In particular, they can analyse how well local communities can access screening services to improve informed choice.

The PHE screening quality assurance service (SQAS) is also sharing this data with NHS screening providers to support quality improvement discussions. Contact details for regional SQAS teams are on GOV.UK.

PHE Screening and NHS England are committed to sharing as much meaningful screening information as possible while taking available resources into account. We also aim to continually improve the way this data is shared and presented while respecting patient confidentiality.

In addition to the publically available data and that shared as part of the MoU, requests for data for specific purposes can be made either to PHE or NHS England. For advice on how to do this, email the PHE Screening helpdesk or the public health analysis team.

For more information or to get involved in the development of these data resources please email the PHE Screening helpdesk.

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PHE Screening BLOGs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes – replacing our previously published newsletters.

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