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About the Compendium of Population Health Indicators

The Compendium* is a collection of indicators, giving a comprehensive overview of population health at a national, regional and local level. 

The indicators within the Compendium can be useful for:

  • comparing the profile of your local area with other regions and national averages 
  • understanding what the population health challenges are in your area and how they may be changing over time 
  • exploring the diverse range of factors that influence health inequalities

Within the Compendium, you can also access the Local Basket of Inequalities Indicators (LBOI)**. This collection of indicators helps organisations to measure health and other factors which influence health inequalities such as unemployment, poverty, crime and education. 

The consultation to gather feedback on planned changes to all the Compendium indicators, covering archiving, signposting and changing the suppression method has now closed. 

If you wish to see the results of the consultation, you can access it by copying the following link into your browser:

The Compendium covers a wide range of indicators:


Historical data requests

Earlier data for some of the Compendium indicators may be available via request. 
To enquire about earlier data please contact us at specifying which indicator files you are interested in, for which time periods and breakdowns. 
For earlier data that has already been released please see the NHS Digital Supplementary Information page.


Statistical methods

The following information describes the methods used for the production of the indicators in the Compendium and also includes some other information of use in health outcomes assessment.


Disclosure control

For some indicators it is necessary to suppress data to prevent the disclosure of information that might identify an individual. Data in the indicator spreadsheets that has been suppressed has been replaced with 'X'.  Further guidance on disclosure control used within the Compendium can be found in the document below. 

Births and Deaths Data 

Guidance from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on disclosure control for birth and death statistics was updated in 2014. Following the update, tables based on:

  • death registrations data presenting figures by year
  • sex, quinary age group
  • International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code
  • any sub-national geography

no longer require disclosure control to be applied if the underlying resident population size is estimated as being greater than 5,000. 

In addition, as Isles of Scilly unitary authority (UA) has a resident population size of less than 5,000 this UA should be either

  • be combined with Cornwall UA
  • have any small numbers suppressed
  • have a full risk assessment should be carried out demonstrating the risk of disclosure is small.

This replaces the previous guidance that any births and deaths figures based on a count of two or less (including zero) must be suppressed. 

A further update was added to this guidance in 2016, which recommends that small numbers should be suppressed in very sparse tables presented at geographies below region where there is a chance that information could be disclosed about an individual.  Further guidance can be found at the link below. 


Our commitment to continuous improvement

NHS Digital continually strives to improve the quality and content of our products and services.  As the Compendium of population health indicators has been in existence for a long time a user feedback survey was set up. The survey was available for a period of two months and 100 responses were received.

This feedback has been reviewed and will feed into a wider consultation on the future of the Compendium of population health indicators. This will be published on the NHS Digital website and users are invited to provide their views on the proposed changes.

We continue to welcome feedback on the Compendium. This should be sent to with 'Compendium review' in the subject line. 


Historical information for the Compendium of Population Health Indicators

This section contains the historical Compendium information and reference materials that were previously available on the NHS Digital Indicator Portal.

Compendium case studies:


Archived reports

This section contains some of the older reports that were previously on the Clinical and Health Outcomes Knowledge Base website.
The national commentary was a summary report on using the Compendium of Clinical and Health Indicators 2003 to assess the health of the population of England. It was prepared by the Department of Health to accompany the Compendium and distributed in May 2005.


Health overviews

These illustrate in diagrams how the health states of individuals and health services and interventions could be linked. There are a group of diagrams showing the links between health outcome objectives for a condition with potential interventions and with relevant indicators from the Compendium. These may be useful when using data to help monitor and analyse the picture in your area for a particular condition. 
This conceptual work was completed by the National Centre for Health Outcomes (NCHOD) in 2005 on behalf of the Department of Health. 


Indicator development reports

This series of reports on indicators was published in 1999. They were developed by ten working groups, commissioned by the Department of Health, which bought together patients and clinical, policy and research experts. 
Covering ten major conditions, the reports recommend ‘ideal indicators’ to monitor outcomes for each of those conditions. ‘Ideal indicators’ describe what should or could be known about the outcomes of that condition in routine clinical or public health practice. 
The reports recommend definitions and technical specifications for each indicator, which you can use to measure outcomes. They also suggest how you can use outcome measures across healthcare, from assessing services locally to monitoring performance nationally. The methodology used by the working groups can also be used to develop indicators for other conditions.


Cancer reports

These four reports discuss how indicators could be developed and used to measure cancer deaths at home, and cancer survival rates at PCT level. They were published by the National Centre for Health Outcomes Development (NCHOD) between 1999 and 2003.

Any views expressed in the following publications are those of the contributors.


Model for Coronary Heart Disease

This report describes a model to help policy makers analyse different strategies for preventing and treating coronary heart disease (CHD). Published in 2004, this demonstration model shows how you can analyse the likely impact on costs and benefits over different timescales of alternative strategies. It can be used to inform the choice and setting of health outcome targets.
As the NHS focuses on public health and cost effectiveness, the model can help forecast likely outcomes. It covers: 

  • Prevention: Simulates the experience of healthy members of a population until their first coronary event. 
  • Treatment: Describes the progress of patients once they have had an acute coronary event. Follows the patient journey from treatment to stable symptomatic and asymptomatic states, or to death. 

The report also describes the feasibility of linking prevention and treatment. This allows you to compare the relative cost effectiveness of different preventative interventions. For example, you can compare primary prevention (changing CHD risk in people without CHD) against secondary prevention (changing CHD risk in people with CHD).


The Local Basket of Inequality Indicators (LBOI)

The following documents provide additional information about this collection of indicators:


Consultation Documents (from 2003/4)


* These indicators were previously available on the Clinical and Health Outcomes Knowledge Base website (also known as NCHOD). 
** These were previously available on the London Health Observatory website.