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Technical Output Specification (TOS) guidance

The Technical Output Specification (TOS) fully defines the data items within the output data set and splits the data set into a number of tables, each containing related data items. 

Data column and field definitions

This guidance shows the fields in the output data set tabs in the Technical Output Specification (TOS) for each data set. 

Some of the column names and column orders across the data set can vary slightly and may not appear in every data set's TOS or may have more than one value.   

Group name

The group name is highlighted in the yellow box at the top.  This name (or a truncated version of it) will be used to name the corresponding element structure in the IDB or XML schema used for submissions.   

Group level validation

Describes the validations that will take place at a group level. Rules describe whether or not this group (as a whole) is mandatory or optional and how this group may relate to other groups in the transmission.
This section also clearly describes how the group may repeat in the transmission.

Group level notes for data providers

Provides further notes for data providers highlighting important things that will be of interest.

Group mandation

Shows levels of mandation for the data group/table, as described to DCB.

Mandatory: These data groups MUST be reported without exception for each included patient for that patient to appear in the submission. Failure to submit these groups will result in the rejection of all submitted groups for that patient.

Required: These data groups MUST be reported where they apply. It is a legal and contractual requirement to submit these groups where the service has been provided to a patient. Failure to submit these groups will affect the derivation of national indicators or national analysis and the reported performance of the provider. Please note that the purpose of the data set is not to change clinical practice.

Optional: These data groups MAY be submitted on an optional basis at the submitters discretion.

Pilot: These data groups have been included within the specification for piloting purposes only to support future implementation. These data groups have not been approved and/or mandated and SHOULD NOT be submitted unless specifically requested by NHS Digital.

Each data set has several mandatory groups that MUST be reported for each included patient and represent the minimum data for a patient to appear in the submission. Failure to submit these groups will result in the rejection of all submitted groups for that patient.

Group-level error and warning messages

Describes the error and warning messages that will be generated by the central system when group-level validations fail.  Please note each error/warning message has a unique code in the format of the Group identifier + unique number for example MHS00101.

UID or XML schema element name 

Unique identifier for a data item within a data set table. 

Data item name (NHS Data Model and Dictionary element)

The unique title or name of the data item, with a link to the NHS Data Model and Dictionary element page where applicable. 

IDB element name or internal column name

The exact data item name that has been used to describe the field in the IDB (or XML schema).

Data item description

Provides a description and explains in detail what information the data item is requiring the user to capture.

Format

The format of the data item expressed in data type and length, as according to the NHS Data Model and Dictionary. For dates and times, it specifically refers to the exact formatting.  For other fields it describes the data type required and the max/min field lengths. 

National code

A list of permissible values/codes that can be accepted for the corresponding data item (where applicable). For example, a field may only allow values of Y,N,X or 1, 2.

National code definition

Provides a list of definitions associated with the national codes where included.  

M/R/O/P/D = Mandatory / Required / Optional / Pilot / Derived

Shows levels of mandation for the data item as described to DCB. Please note that these rules are applied at record level. I.e. they only apply where a record is included in a given table. 

Mandatory: These data items MUST be reported without exception. Failure to submit these items will result in the rejection of the record. 

Required: These data items MUST be reported where they apply. It is a legal and contractual requirement to submit these data items where the service has been provided to a patient. Failure to submit these data items will not result in the rejection of the record but may affect the derivation of national indicators or national analysis. Please note that the purpose of the data set is not to change clinical practice.

Optional: These data items MAY be submitted on an optional basis at the submitter's discretion.

Pilot: These data items have been included within the specification for piloting purposes only to support future implementation. These data items have not been approved and/or mandated and SHOULD NOT be submitted unless specifically requested by NHS Digital.

Derived: These data items are derived during pre and/or post deadline processing for inclusion in the extracts made available for download. Please note that these are not for submission to the Submission Portal and are not included in the submission file.


Validation rules

Received data item blank

This field explains how the data item is validated where no data is received.

Reject the entire record will rejected, and an appropriate rejection message will be written to the validation reports for the provider

Warning the data item will be accepted, but an appropriate warning message will be written to the validation reports for the provider

N/A the data item will be accepted with no warning or rejection displayed.

Format error

What the central system will do when this field fails format checking for example a value of "AB" is received and the field is defined as a "n1" format field:

Reject the entire record will rejected, and an appropriate rejection message will be written to the validation reports for the provider. 

All data items are currently set to "Reject" on formatting errors.

National code error

This fields explains how the data item is validated if data are received but do not conform to one of the codes listed in the National Codes field. Codes are:

Reject the entire record will be rejected, and an appropriate rejection message will be written to the validation reports for the provider The data item will be accepted and written to the central database with the value transmitted, but an appropriate warning message will be written to the validation reports for the provider

N/A  the data item will be accepted and written to the central database with the value transmitted. 

 

Additional validation rules

Gives details other validations that will be undertaken, over and above the Blank/Format/National Code, and what will happen if that validation fails.

Record level error or warning measures

Describes the Error and Warning messages that will be generated by the central system when field-level validations fail. Each error/warning message has a unique code in the format of the UID + unique number for example MSD0010101. 

Extract

An indicator of whether the field is included in the following extracts:

  • provider pre-deadline
  • provider post-deadline
  • commissioning

Info req ref

Reference number for information request (only in Community Servies and Maternity Services Data Set TOS).

Information requirements (purpose)

Description of the reason the data item was included within the data set.  Maps to specific reporting requirement entries (only in Community Servies Data Set (CSDS) and Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) TOS).

Version number (introduced/amended)

The version of the TOS where a data item has been included or amended. The first two numbers refer to the overall version of the data set and the final number refers to the version of the document.


Understanding the TOS

Groups and tables

A group (also referred to as a data table) is the name given to a collection of data items within the data set that all relate to the same subject. There are multiple groups/tables within each data set header - GP Registration and  Care Contact are examples of groups. 

Each group has its own worksheet within the TOS Excel file and each display the group/table number and name in a yellow banner at the top of the sheet. Some data sets have also have a group mandation field in the banner, where the M/R/O/P status of the group/table is clearly displayed.

Data items and fields

Data items are the individual pieces of information within the groups. NHS NUMBER, LOCAL PATIENT IDENTIFIER (EXTENDED) and PERSON BIRTH DATE are examples of data items. Within the TOS, these can also be referred to as fields.

Linked groups

Some groups need to have records present in other groups for the data to be valid. The care activity group for example is for recording care activity that happens as part of an appointment (care contact), undertaken at a care contact. It therefore needs a valid parent in the care contact group. The record could be rejected, or a warning generated if there are multiple, none or invalid records in other groups. The individual data models will show a graphical representation of how the groups in the data set fit together.

Last edited: 20 April 2021 4:53 pm