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Submit data to the Mental Health Services Data Set

All providers of specialist secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder services should submit to the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS). This page explains how.

How to register to submit data to the MHSDS

Service providers must submit MHSDS data via the Strategic Data Collection Service in the Cloud (SDCS Cloud) using a registered account.

Read more about how to submit data via the SDCS in the Registration and User Guide.

Once registered with SDCS Cloud you can follow our guidance on submitting to the MHSDS.

How to submit to the MHSDS

This guidance describes the steps required for an organisation to be ready to submit the MHSDS to NHS Digital via the SDCS Cloud.

From April 2020 data should be uploaded via SDCS Cloud using the MHSDS v4.1 intermediate database

Third party submissions

Most organisations collect and submit their own data to the MHSDS. This is the preferred option.

However some organisations - mostly small, third or independent sector organisations - work with another organisation who submits data to the MHSDS on their behalf.

Where it is more practical to do so, it is acceptable for third and independent sector providers to ask their IT system supplier or another mental health provider (usually a trust) to submit their data on their behalf.

Refer to the PDF document above entitled ‘How to submit to the mental health services data set (MHSDS)’ for additional information on third party submissions.

What to submit

The requirements of the MHSDS are set out in the MHSDS v4.1 (DCB0011) information standard. This defines the data items, definitions and associated value sets to be extracted or derived from local information systems.

Service providers must conform fully with the information standard. Service providers must give full consideration to the scope of the data set to ensure the services they deliver are represented completely in the data set.

MHSDS intermediate database

The intermediate database (IDB) is a tool which enables the collation of data for submission to the MHSDS. It is a Microsoft Access database and data must be provided in this format. Once all data has been uploaded to the IDB, NHS Digital can extract the data as a whole and begin processing it.

We can confirm that any upgrades from Office 2010 to Office 2019, will not affect submissions using Access 2010.

The IDB’s used have an “.accdb” extension that is forward compatible with newer versions of Access. 

To note “.accdb” files are compatible with all versions of Access from 2007 onwards, however Access is not available if moving to Apple Mac, only via a Windows platform.

The MHSDS v4.1 IDB can be found on the NHS Digital Technology Reference data Update Distribution (TRUD) pages for which you need to create an account and log in.

Once registered, the IDB is located via the ‘Data Set Development Services Tools’ link and new users will need to click on "licences" which will enable a "download" link to open.

Important Notice 08 June 2020

A new version of the IDB (MHSDS_v4.1_IDB_v2.accdb) has now been published on TRUD containing a small number of format changes. This new IDB can be used for all v4.1 submissions going forward. The previous version contained a small number of format errors that prevented the portal from accepting the file upon submission.

An alternative option exists for providers, to manually apply the format changes to the previous v4.1 IDB, which will allow this IDB to be accepted. Providers exploring this option can find additional guidance, with screenshots, in the MHSDS v4.1 IDB changes guidance document in this page. 

MHSDS v4.1 IDB changes guidance

Monthly submission dates

MHSDS data must be submitted monthly.

From 1 April 2020 NHS Digital is implementing a multiple submission window model for MHSDS which will enable the resubmission of data throughout the financial year.

Dates are subject to review with at least three months’ notice given for any changes.

2020/21 data

2020/21 data should be submitted to SDCS Cloud using the MHSDS v4.1 IDB.

Data for 2020/21 can start to be submitted from June 2020.

Following issues with the IDB file, which prevented initial submissions from being processed, the first cut of data will be moved accordingly and will now be taken at 11.59pm on 26 June 2020. This ensures that there are the usual 14 working days for submission.

Providers will be able to submit MHSDS data to SDCS Cloud continuously throughout the year and a cut of any data submitted by 11.59pm on the 14th working day of each month will be processed. A final cut of 2020/21 data will be taken at 11.59pm on 21 May 2021.

Providers must continue to submit a month’s data at least once in the first two submission months (the current primary and refresh submission windows).

MHSDS data will continue to be used in the current range of products and many of these will use the updated data available during the year. However, only data submitted during the first two submission months will be used for CQUIN payments, in-year NHS England performance monitoring, and published in the monthly official statistics.

Any data submitted after the first two submission windows will be used to generate final statistics at the end of the year but will not be published in-year.

Activity month
(Each month of data must be submitted in a separate file)
Cut of data taken at: (11:59pm)
April to October 2020 Thursday 19 November 2020
April to November 2020 Friday 18 December 2020
April to December 2020 Thursday 21 January 2021
April 2020 to January 2021 Thursday 18 February 2021
April 2020 to February 2021 Thursday 18 March 2021
April 2020 to March 2021 Thursday 22 April 2021

Multiple submission window model for MHSDS

A multiple submission window model for the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) will be available to providers from 1 April 2020. This will enable providers to resubmit data for each full financial year.

Full details can be found via the Multiple Submission Window Model web pages.

Further information

  1. 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.

  2. internal

    Mental health data hub

    The Mental Health Data Hub is a collection of interactive dashboards and useful links covering mental health data in England.

Last edited: 26 October 2020 8:57 am