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Screening data and information objectives

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A man with glasses holds a chart which shows overall progress.
Standards are one of the ways we can see how well national screening programmes are performing

It was back in March 2019 that Health Minister Steve Brine confirmed Public Health England’s (PHE) role and priorities for the financial year 2019 to 2020.

These priorities are available for all to see in Mr Brine's remit letter dated 22 March 2019, which is addressed to PHE Chief Executive Duncan Selbie.

I wanted to update professionals working in screening about how the national screening data and information team has linked its objectives to those set out in the remit letter.

The remit letter

To break it down a little bit, the remit letter has some important points for us here in the national screening team at PHE.

It asks us to:

  • provide advice, expertise and evidence to improve health and reduce health inequalities
  • collect, quality assure and publish timely information on important public health topics and outcomes

It is the second of these bullet points that my data team will be involved in supporting.

Screening standards and frameworks

The PHE screening data team is committed to publishing data required to monitor 128 currently defined screening standards for the 11 national population screening programmes.

A number of these standards are also screening key performance indicators (KPIs) which are published and shared quarterly with our colleagues in NHS England and other public health professionals.

There is already a framework for setting screening standards and a process for piloting and setting KPIs.

It is our responsibility to monitor the quality of screening programmes, publish timely data required to understand and support processes along the screening pathway and highlight issues we consider to be of particular importance to public health.

PHE data team objectives

Our objectives can broadly be grouped as:

  • data publication and reporting
  • data sharing with other organisations we work closely with
  • support work to reduce inequalities in screening services
  • support research, audit and evaluation
  • development and maintenance of expert screening and data management knowledge/skills
  • training and development of our data staff and other colleagues with interest in data
  • advice and support to PHE Screening staff, external colleagues and screening services

We hope you have found this blog useful. Please get in touch with the screening helpdesk if you have any questions or would like to discuss screening data.

Do look out for more updates in the next year about common queries to the data team, shared learning, data quality, and other areas linked to PHE data team objectives.

PHE Screening blogs

PHE Screening blogs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs. If you have any questions about this blog article, or about population screening in England, please contact the PHE screening helpdesk.

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