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Urgent and emergency mental health care pathways: Guidance for improving data quality in the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS)

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Urgent and emergency mental health care pathways: Guidance for improving data quality in the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS)


This guidance is aimed at people and organisations involved in the collection and submission of Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) data including

  • information managers, developers and analysts within organisations providing NHS funded urgent and emergency community mental health services and urgent and emergency liaison mental health services
  • operational managers, service managers and clinical leads of these organisations 
  • suppliers of clinical or administrative IT systems to these organisations

It  has been developed to support the improvement of the quality and completeness of data submitted to the Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) used in the analysis of NHS-funded urgent and emergency mental health (including both community and liaison) services for all ages in England.

This guidance is the second iteration of the urgent and emergency care pathways initial data quality guidance. It has been updated following workshops and engagement and feedback from the system. It will be superseded as and when further analysis and engagement identifies other areas of focus.

It is published ahead of the implementation of v5.0 of the Mental Health Services Dataset to support implementation of the changes introduced, which are highlighted in this guidance. Version 5.0 will apply from the October 2021 reporting period onwards, with the first v5.0 submissions from 1 December 2021. See submitting Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) data for more submission dates.

NHS England recently announced new proposals for the introduction of waiting times for urgent mental health services. Fundamental to introduction of the standards will be measurement of overall activity, triage of clinical response priority, and recording waiting times in community-based crisis services. This guidance seeks to support improvements to data quality during 2021/22 and 2022/23 ahead of formal introduction of the standards.

Updates to this guidance will be publicised in NHS Digital’s mental health information update.


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Last edited: 10 January 2022 2:15 pm