Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)

Summary

HES is a data warehouse containing details of all admissions, outpatient appointments and A and E attendances at NHS hospitals in England.

About the HES database

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) is a database containing details of all admissions, A and E attendances and outpatient appointments at NHS hospitals in England.

Initially this data is collected during a patient's time at hospital as part of the Commissioning Data Set (CDS). This is submitted to NHS Digital for processing and is returned to healthcare providers as the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) data set and includes information relating to payment for activity undertaken. It allows hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver. 

This same data can also be processed and used for non-clinical purposes, such as research and planning health services. Because these uses are not to do with direct patient care, they are called 'secondary uses'. This is the HES data set.

HES data covers all NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England, including:

  • private patients treated in NHS hospitals
  • patients resident outside of England
  • care delivered by treatment centres (including those in the independent sector) funded by the NHS

Each HES record contains a wide range of information about an individual patient admitted to an NHS hospital, including:

  • clinical information about diagnoses and operations
  • patient information, such as age group, gender and ethnicity
  • administrative information, such as dates and methods of admission and discharge
  • geographical information such as where patients are treated and the area where they live

We apply a strict statistical disclosure control in accordance with the NHS Digital protocol, to all published HES data. This suppresses small numbers to stop people identifying themselves and others, to ensure that patient confidentiality is maintained.

The benefits of HES

You can use HES to:

  • monitor trends and patterns in NHS hospital activity
  • assess effective delivery of care
  • support local service planning
  • provide the basis for national indicators of clinical quality
  • reveal health trends over time
  • inform patient choice
  • determine fair access to health care
  • develop, monitor and evaluate government policy
  • support NHS and parliamentary accountability

HES publications

We publish a number of standard analyses that are free to access on the NHS Digital website. You can download these published data tables and analysis from our data catalogue.

Monthly HES publications

Monthly Accident and Emergency Quality Indicators

Annual HES publications for:

An issue has been identified with the Monthly A&E CQI Publications from January 2015 onwards, whereby two service providers (AAH -  TETBURY HOSPITAL TRUST LTD and AD913 - BECKENHAM BEACON UCC) have been excluded from the report.

In both cases, the provider in question submitted data to NHS England sit-reps, but not to A and E HES.

As such, there is no change to the published data tables, but the two providers should be included in the list of NHS sit-rep providers not submitting to A and E HES in each month from Jan 2015 onwards.

NHS Digital plans to start publishing data on A&E 12 hour waits on a monthly basis within our provisional Accident and Emergency Quality Indicators statistical publications.

In this context the references to 12 hour waits will be based on the total time for an A&E attendance as recorded in A&E HES (excluding planned follow-up attendances and attendances where the attendance category was unknown).

This is defined as the time between the patient's arrival, and the time the A&E attendance has concluded and the department is no longer responsible for the care of the patient.

Given the huge number of combinations of fields within HES, it's only possible to publish a limited number of analyses. If you can't find the data you're looking for in our catalogue, find out how to apply for other standard and bespoke extracts.

Further information

  1. Payment by Results

    Payment by Results (PbR) is a system of paying NHS healthcare providers a standard national price or tariff for each patient seen or treated.

  2. The processing cycle and HES data quality

    Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data comes from the routine submissions of data from providers to NHS Digital for the purposes of payment for and commissioning of healthcare in England.

  3. Data quality resources for clinicians

    Safe and efficient patient care relies on high quality data and by taking responsibility for your clinical data you can drive up standards of care.