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Coronavirus as Recorded in Primary Care - EXPERIMENTAL STATISTICS

3. Additional Data Sources

Additional COVID-19 data sources were considered to understand the overlap and patient journey during the pandemic. Each source was cleaned using the same procedure as GDPPR, described in Section 2.2

3.1 Pathways

This data contains all persons who contacted 111 or 999 over the telephone and were allocated a COVID-19 disposition code. The disposition codes represent various situations, such as an ambulance being sent out, a referral for the person to speak to a COVID-19 advice service, etc.

It should be noted that patient guidance and availability of contact services changed during the pandemic. This will have affected engagement with Pathways services as recorded in this data set. For example, during the summer of 2020, an automated message was added to the phone triage service that directed people who were calling about COVID-19 to call 119 instead. This analysis does not include 119 data. 

3.2 Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS)

Also included in the analysis are pillar 1 and pillar 2 positive COVID-19 test results from the Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS). This data set is collated and maintained by Public Health England (PHE). The pillar 1 tests are swab tests in PHE labs and NHS hospitals, while the pillar 2 tests are swab tests for the wider population. Pillar 3 and 4 data are not included in this data set.

3.3 Government Published Data

Government published case data are used as a benchmark of the total number of COVID-19 infections in England. According to the official website these include the total number of people with at least one positive COVID-19 test result, either laboratory-confirmed or lateral flow device.

The official count of COVID-19 test-confirmed cases in England is obtained from the UK government dashboard. These are compared with the GP data on publication date, although the two data sets are not fully comparable. A subset of laboratory-confirmed cases are not added to patient GP records, and there is no mandate for lateral flow test results to be sent to general practice. The GP data set, however, has the following advantages:

  • It utilises the rich demographic breakdown available in the GP data set and elsewhere to enable analysis by different groups, such as ethnicity.
  • It counts more patients from early in the pandemic based on clinical diagnoses or suspected diagnoses before widespread testing took place.
  • It highlights the benefits, data quality, and relationship to other data sets and can be used for in-depth research.

Last edited: 19 May 2021 1:57 pm