Population health team

Summary

Our population health team collects and analyses data about the health of the UK population. This includes data about NHS screening programmes, immunisations, births, deaths, general health and lifestyle.

This is divided into 4 groups: 

We collect, analyse, interpret and distribute data to inform policy and develop public health interventions. The data is also used to monitor the impact of changes to policy and health interventions. 

English data is often combined with that of the rest of the UK and contributes to global comparisons as part of the UK's membership of the World Health Organization (WHO), Organisation for European Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat. This enables health care providers and governments to compare UK health performance with other countries around the world. 

Collect

We work in 4 main areas.

Lifestyles statistics

Our team collects data on a range of topics including:

  • smoking
  • alcohol 
  • drug use
  • obesity
  • contraception

In addition, we also manage the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) collecting data on the numbers of underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obese primary school children. 

Data associated with the national Lifestyles surveys is also collected by our team.

Population, geography and international statistics

We collate information from all four UK countries on a wide variety of health-related topics for international bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat.

We also have responsibility for population, births and deaths information, which includes the number of live births, deaths by cause and area, and the number of maternities (number of pregnancies resulting in births). 

In addition, we manage the Primary Care Mortality Database (PCMD) and Compendium of Public Health indicators, primarily for Public Health clinicians and analysts in local authorities, but also for wider use. We deal with issues related to geography, including spatial analysis and mapping tasks.

Screening and immunisations

We collect data in relation to breast and cervical screening, and the NHS immunisation programme.

Breast screening data includes information on the number of women invited for screening, numbers screened, and the outcomes of screening (including diagnosis of cancer).

Cervical screening data includes information about the call and re-call system, screening samples examined by pathology laboratories, referrals to colposcopy clinics and subsequent treatment and outcomes.

Immunisation coverage data is collected for routine childhood immunisations at one, two and five years, and seasonal flu immunisation.

Surveys

Our surveys team commissions and manages contracts with external organisations to carry out surveys on aspects of health and social care. Surveys cover a wide range of topics and vary in frequency from quarterly to every 10 years.

Morbidity surveys can be complex undertakings, involving in-depth clinical face to face interviews. These must also have procedures in place to advise interviewees if they should seek medical attention.

We offer advice on running or commissioning surveys. Additional questions can be added to existing surveys, or certain demographic returns boosted. 

Analyse and interpret

Analysis is undertaken by both the contracted companies that collect the data and by our organisation. Lifestyles data is analysed to provide a broad picture of health issues related to smoking, alcohol, drug use and obesity, and a summary of key findings from the National Child Measurement Programme for England. 

Distribute

Publications and data sharing tools are produced by all parts of the team.

Lifestyle statistics

Publications include:

We also produce answers to parliamentary questions, freedom of information requests and other ad hoc data requirements.

Population, geography and international statistics

We hold vital statistics data on behalf of the NHS. This can be extracted, analysed and formatted for a customer, under disclosure control to minimise risk of re-identification.

Quarterly reports on the number of people registered with a GP practice are published within the General Practice Data Hub. Requests for data from the primary care mortality database must go through the Data Access Request Service.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) population data is provided through the data tool iView. The population statistics database is only available to members of the NHS or Department of Health and Social Care with a valid business need by contacting pop.geog@hscic.gov.uk

Members of the public can refer to standard tables at:

Screening and immunisation

Publications include:

Further immunisation publications, including uptake of the influenza vaccine in adults, are produced by Public Health England.

Surveys

Reports include:

Change

Data is used to inform policy and to develop public health interventions. It is also used to monitor targets to see if policy interventions are having an effect. 

The international work enables comparison of UK health performance with other countries around the world. 

Population health data is also used to inform public debate. For example, the Autism Spectrum Disorders in adults living in households throughout England Report from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007 was used to debunk claims of a link between MMR and autism, by showing that autism was no more common in younger people than adults, even though adults at this time had not received MMR vaccinations.