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Publication, Part of

Acute Patient Level Activity and Costing, 2018-19

Experimental statistics, Other reports and statistics

Linkage to Hospital Episode Statistics

The Patient Level Information and Costing System (PLICS) Acute data collection has been designed to link to Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data at record level to permit analysis such as costing by primary diagnosis. This limits the burden on submitting providers by minimising the number of PLICS Acute data items collected and ensures that a single version of activity information is used.

Further information on the HES data linked to in this analysis is available from the HES publication pages:

Accident & emergency

Admitted patient care



All submitted PLICS Acute activity would be expected to have been submitted to the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) within Commissioning Data Set submissions, which form the basis of HES data.

For each PLICS Acute activity record, a match is sought among the 2018-19 HES activity records for the same provider. The primary matching field is CDS Unique Identifier. For PLICS Acute activity records where CDS Unique Identifier is not submitted or the CDS Unique Identifier does not match to any HES record, a secondary matching method is used to link records based on identifiers such as NHS number and date of birth, and dates of activity.

Some HES records are anonymised because they contain diagnosis or procedure codes which are subject to legal restrictions.  The processing which matches PLICS Acute records to HES data does not link any PLICS Acute activity to these anonymised HES records.

The matching process found a small number of matches between PLICS Acute records for incomplete admitted patient care (APC) episodes and HES completed APC episodes (fewer than 0.03% of PLICS Acute APC episodes). These may reflect data quality errors in either the PLICS Acute or SUS submissions. Such matches have been discarded in the table below and in the APC analysis in this report.

Linkage success rate

The percentages of PLICS Acute activity for which a unique matching HES record was found were:

Acute setting Percentage of PLICS Acute activity records Percentage of PLICS Acute cost
Accident & emergency 92 94
Admitted patient care 94 94
Outpatient 92 93


Activity in HES not in PLICS

HES data for 2018-19 includes acute activity submitted by providers that were not required to submit PLICS Acute data for this period, such as non-NHS providers and NHS providers in other sectors.

When comparing HES and PLICS Acute activity counts for 2018-19 for a specific provider, please note that some activity recorded in HES was not in scope for the PLICS Acute collection for 2018-19.

Full details of the activities in and out of scope were published in the National Cost Collection guidance.

Examples of activity included in HES and excluded from PLICS Acute for 2018-19 (both activity and cost) are:

  • private patients, overseas visitors, patients from the devolved administrations and patients funded by the Ministry of Defence
  • all activity in HIV and sexual and reproductive health clinic specialties, and activity in other specialties with related Healthcare Resource Group (HRG) codes

Examples of activity included in HES and excluded from PLICS Acute for 2018-19 (associated costs reported as part of the cost of other PLICS activity records) are:

  • birth episodes for healthy or well babies – costs reported in PLICS as part of the costs of the maternity delivery episode
  • outpatient appointments where the patient did not attend – costs in PLICS allocated only to the patients who attended

Providers were also offered the option of excluding from their PLICS Acute submissions any activity records where zero or minimal cost was to be allocated against the core activity HRG as a result of unbundling costs (such as rehabilitation or specialist palliative care). The approach to including or excluding such activity records may vary between providers.

Last edited: 29 January 2020 2:16 pm