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About the NHS Outcomes Framework (NHS OF)

Update March 2023:

Following the merger of NHS Digital and NHS England on 1st February 2023 we are reviewing the future presentation of the NHS Outcomes Framework indicators. As part of this review, the annual publication which was due to be released in March 2023 has been delayed. Further announcements about this dataset will be made on the NHS Outcomes Framework publication page in due course. 


The NHS Outcomes Framework (NHS OF) indicators provide national level accountability for the outcomes the NHS delivers; they drive transparency, quality improvement and outcome measurement through the NHS.

The framework sets out the national outcome goals that the Secretary of State uses to monitor the progress of NHS England. It does not set out how these outcomes should be delivered, it is for NHS England to determine how best to deliver improvements by working with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to make use of the tools at their disposal.

NHS Digital works in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the development of the indicator set. NHS Digital develops, tests and assures the method for each indicator in the NHS OF. We calculate the indicators and publish the data alongside the specifications and indicator quality statements. The range of data sources being used for the indicators means that some can be updated on a quarterly basis whilst others can only be updated annually or biannually.

All indicators are reported at England level, and are broken down, where possible, by Age, Lower tier local authority, Upper tier local authority, Region, Religion, Ethnicity, Deprivation decile, Sexual orientation, Gender and Condition.

Update August 2021:

Following a consultation which ran between 12 February 2021 and 12 March 2021, NHS OF will be published on an annual basis from February/March 2022 onwards.  The August 2021 release will be the final quarterly publication.

A consultation response document, as well as a spreadsheet providing links to NHS OF data sources is available from the link titled 'See the latest NHS OF publications' in the resources section below.

Update March 2020:

There is an ongoing review by NHS Digital of emergency readmissions indicators across the frameworks, many of which, until last year, had not been published since 2014.  Phase one of this review was completed in early 2019 and involved the publication of two indicators : NHS Outcomes Framework indicator 3b – Emergency readmissions within 30 days of discharge from hospital and CCG Outcomes Indicator Set indicator 3.2.

In phase 2 we have consulted on the indicator specification and made some tactical changes that will be released in February 2020 with the whole dataset being refreshed.  Phase 2 will then continue through 2020 to identify and develop the indicators further before publication in 2021.

A summary paper providing further details of the review is available in the resources section below.


Framework Domains

Indicators in the NHS OF are grouped around five domains, which set out the high-level national outcomes that the NHS should be aiming to improve. They focus on improving health and reducing health inequalities:

Domain 1 - Preventing people from dying prematurely

This domain captures how successful the NHS is in reducing the number of avoidable deaths.

Domain 2 - Enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions

This domain captures how successful the NHS is in supporting people with long-term conditions to live as normal a life as possible.

Domain 3 -Helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury

This domain captures how people recover from ill health or injury and wherever possible how it can be prevented.

Domain 4 - Ensuring that people have a positive experience of care

This domain looks at the importance of providing a positive experience of care for patients, service users and carers.

Domain 5 - Treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm

This domain explores patients safety and its importance in terms of quality of care to deliver better health outcomes.

Our commitment to continuous improvement

Like all indicators managed by NHS Digital, the NHS OF indicators will be subject to continuous review, using our Indicator and Methodology Assurance Service.

We welcome further comments and suggestions for improvement on the NHS OF indicators, please send to [email protected]