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How can I access data from the Mental Health Services Data Set?


NHS Digital produces statistical releases that make available the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) data. These releases are publicly available and will be of interest to a range of users including service providers, commissioners, patients, researchers, agencies and the wider public.

Read about the Mental Health Services Statistics (MHSDS) Monthly Reports.     

Provider and Commissioner Extracts

Providers and commissioners of adult mental health, children and young people's specialist learning disabilities or autism spectrum disorder, CYP-IAPT and early intervention services can retrieve processed Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) extracts covering their own services and the patients for whom they are responsible from the Bureau Service Portal.

Providers: provider extracts contain data for their own services and patients.

Commissioners: Commissioner extracts will be filtered by organisation code (Code of Commissioner) and commissioners can only receive records where their NHS organisation code matches that supplied by the provider for the patient. The structure, format and content of this extract are similar to the provider's final extract, but the extract does not include patient identifiable data items.

Change to the way Commissioner Extract can be accessed:

Please note that following the review of the policy regarding the use of patient level data and its impact on the Mental Health extracts for commissioners, data can only be provided to commissioners following approval by an independent review body. This means that commissioner access to Mental Health data will be subject to application and approval by the independent Data Access Advisory Group (DAAG).

The Community and Mental Health Team is currently running two pilot exercises to try and make the application and approvals process as straightforward as possible. This will cover access to all non-acute data sets (Maternity, Children and Young People's Health Services, Mental Health and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) for commissioning purposes only. Applications for other purposes will have to be submitted separately. We are also piloting a CSU/DSCRO application where multiple CCGs can be added to the same application. This does not prevent individual CCGs applying for access.

It is important to note that no MHSDS data will be released to commissioners/CCGs until DAAG approval has been given. IAPT data for 15/16 will continue to flow to CCGs but data for 16/17 will have to be approved by DAAG.

Specifications for the Provider and Commissioner Extracts are contained in the Technical Output Specification and describe exactly what data are contained in the extracts.

If you do not currently have an Open Exeter account with access to the Bureau Service Portal for MHSDS, you will not be able to access data in this way. However, you can register for an account (provided you fulfil a service provider or commissioning role) or apply for your own extracts of MHSDS data using the Data Access Request Service.

Read more about how to get an Open Exeter account in the Technical Guidance.

Data Access Request Service

NHS Digital can provide extracts of MHSDS data to a pre-determined specification via our Data Access Request Service. Other than the options for sensitive or non-sensitive data, the content of all extracts are the same, though the fields available may change depending on which data year you require.

Please see below for extract specifications relating to each version of the MHMDS data set:

MHMDS version 2.6 - data years of 2006-07 to 2007-08

Please note that a technical specification for this period is not available, however further information can be found in the MHMDS version 2.6 data manual

MHMDS version 3.0 - data years 2008-09 to 2009-10

MHMDS version 3.5 - data year 2010-11

MHMDS version 4.0 - data years 2011-12 to 2012-13

MHMDS version 4.1 - data years 2013-14

How do we use and protect patient identifiable data?

At NHS Digital, we take the importance of information governance very seriously. We have controls and procedures in place to make sure we demonstrate the highest standard of stewardship and governance of the information we handle, including the MHSDS.

We conform to the standards of the Governance Committee (formerly the National Information Governance Board), the national body that protects the interests of patients in how their data are used, shared and stored in the NHS and adult social care.

Patient identifiable data is collected extensively across all areas of health for both clinical and management purposes. The Governance Committee's Care Record Guarantee sets out the "commitment that NHS organisations and those providing care on behalf of the NHS will use records in ways that respect patient rights and promote your health and well-being." This principle is applied across all national data collections including all of our mental health information. 

We make sure individual patients cannot be identified by creating a pseudonymised patient identifier which is used in national aggregate reporting.

We make sure all data is kept secure whilst it is being submitted. The Bureau Service Web Portal which is used to submit the data has secure 'https' technology to encrypt data transmitted across the N3 network. The portal has successfully passed extensive testing designed to identify any security issues.

The data we collect will help us to understand how services operate, the treatments they provide and the outcomes they achieve - and helps improve the way they are delivered.

Read more about how we look after confidential information.

Related pages

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    Mental Health Services Data Set

    The Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) contains record-level data about the care of children, young people and adults who are in contact with mental health, learning disabilities or autism spectrum disorder services.

  2. internal

    Mental Health Services Monthly Statistics

    This monthly statistical release makes available the most recent MHSDS data from January 2016 onwards and replaces the Monthly MHLDS Reports (last published in February). The release provides the most up to date information available about care given to users of NHS funded secondary mental health, learning disability and autism services for all ages in England.

Last edited: 31 May 2018 9:43 am