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Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

NHS Digital annual report and accounts 2018-19

Summary and highlights of our achievements over the last financial year.

Our annual report and accounts explains how we have this year:

  • delivered many new and improved technology and data solutions for NHS staff and patients
  • strengthened our capability and resilience
  • completed the first phase of work on reshaping our organisation to ensure we are fit for the future

Our work has had demonstrable impact, not just for staff and patients, but also for the research and life science communities, as well as supporting the management of the health and care system as a whole.

Case studies

These case studies explore how this work is making a real difference for the public and for health and care professionals.

Key highlights

Read our key highlights from 2018 to 2019.

Patients and the public

Highlights include:

  • we delivered the first version of the NHS App, which has now been downloaded by approximately 210k citizens, with most GPs now connected. This will be the core platform for patient communication that we will build on, and will create a platform for health tech providers to integrate their products into
  • we have implemented the NHS Login, providing a fast, secure and singular way for individuals to access multiple digital NHS services. Eventually we hope all NHS services will be accessible to patients via this single login.  The NHS App uses NHS Login
  • we have significantly improved the accessibility and usability of information on the NHS website, the UK’s largest health information website with an average of 46 million UK visits per month
  • patients now have access to the free NHS WiFi connectivity that we have provided within GP surgeries, clinics and hospitals across the country. We are using WiFi ‘splash pages’ to educate and inform users

Health and care professionals

Highlights include:

  • we have continued the expansion of the e-Referral service (eRS). More than 90% of first outpatient appointments in England are now made electronically via eRS, compared to about 66% in March last year. This saves time for NHS staff, offers increased convenience and choice for patients, reduces costs on postage and cuts the use of paper
  • schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs can now be prescribed via the Electronic Prescription Service. This has vastly increased ease of access to medication for thousands of patients dependent on these drugs
  • we have continued to expand the Child Protection Information Sharing service, which protects vulnerable children. 91% of local authorities and 92% of health sites are now using the system

Research and life sciences

Highlights include:

  • we have published 265 official statistics series, and the richness and coverage of our official statistics continues to grow, including the provision of multiple new ‘experimental’ data sets. We also continue to respond to many requests for bespoke analysis of specific data sets, and we publish all such responses
  • we have securely and legally processed more than 1,145 agreements for person-level data over the past year, largely from research and academic communities, an increase of 65% from 2017-18 and 120% compared with 2016-17. We have achieved this whilst also significantly reducing the time that researchers and other approved applicants wait for access to data
  • we have launched the new Data Access Environment, which provides a secure and feature-rich online portal for specifically authorised users to access data without the original data ever having to be disseminated outside of NHS Digital
  • we have worked with leading national medical research communities to pilot the provision of cohort-identification services for clinical trials, and hope to refine and industrialise this service over the coming year

System management

Highlights include:

  • we have continued to operate our core national systems to world-class standards, with average availability across our live services of 99.95%
  • we have continued to improve data security across the NHS and social care, with 840,000 NHS devices now being monitored for threats and vulnerabilities by the Cyber Security Operations Centre. We detect around 1000 potentially infected devices each week and have successfully blocked 1.4m communications with malicious networks (botnets)
  • the NHS Spine is now regularly handling one billion messages per month, about the same as the transactions on all services over the whole year
  • the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) programme is replacing the old, centrally managed NHS broadband network with modern connectivity that helps organisations to access internet and cloud-based services safely. More than 90% of organisations have now procured the newer services and are in the process of migrating
  • more than 27,000 health and care organisations have signed up for the Data Security Protection Toolkit

View our annual report and accounts

Download our annual report and accounts

Last edited: 7 November 2022 2:45 pm