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GP Contract Services: Data Quality Statement

This page provides information on the data quality of the GP Contract Services publications. It details any overarching data quality issues that affect many, if not all, of the GP Contract Services.

With the exception of the learning disabilities health check (LDHC) scheme, the data for the GP contract services have not been subject to any  quality checks. User feedback received to date has indicated that the LDHC data are used more widely; therefore, the data for these services have undergone quality checks, and the publication includes details of these checks and their results. Links to the publication pages for this service is given below.

Accuracy and reliability

The data from a number of GP Contract Services are used for direct payment purposes; therefore, GP practices are incentivised to ensure that patients’ medical records are accurate and up-to-date. The accuracy of the GP Contract Services data primarily depends on:

  • Clinical coding: Patients’ medical information is recorded in GP practice clinical systems in the form of SNOMED codes, which provide a standard vocabulary for recording such information. The extent to which GP practices keep their patients’ medical records accurate and up-to-date will affect the accuracy of their data.
  • Manually entered data: For manual data collections, the accuracy and reliability of the counts that GP practices enter in to the CQRS will affect the accuracy of their data. For example, a member of staff from a GP practice may accidentally enter the wrong number (e.g. 100 instead of 10) when recording the number of vaccinations that their GP practices have administered.
  • Clinical case finding: This is the extent to which patients with certain conditions are identified by GP practices as having these conditions, which consequently results in the extent to which these patients are recorded as having these conditions. While this mainly concerns the disease registers that form part of the INLIQ, the same principles apply to core contract components, ESs and vaccination and immunisation programmes. For example, the data accuracy for a given ES depends on GP practices identifying the suitable patients who qualify for this service.
  • Recording of information carried out by other healthcare providers: A number of Core contract components, ESs and vaccination and immunisation programmes include management information counts that concern activity that has been carried out by other healthcare providers (i.e. the activity has been carried out outside of the GP practice). The extent to which this activity is recorded in GP practice clinical systems affects the accuracy of these management information counts.

Winter 2021-22; drug reference set coding issue

A small number of the drug reference sets underpinning the extract specifications were found to be missing codes for the period October 2022 - January 2021. Counts using the clusters in the following services for this period should therefore be treated with caution:

Service Affected code cluster

For more information on how code clusters are used in the specification of these services, please see the business rules for the GP contract services.


Indicators no longer in QOF (INLIQ) 2021-22

  • Indicator code MH007 - The percentage of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other psychoses who have a record of alcohol consumption in the preceding 12 months, is no longer part of this data set as it now forms part of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) 2021-22 publication due to be published later this year.
  • In five practices with indicator code NM84, the total number of patients in the denominator, exclusions and exemptions was one less than the number of patients on the register. Due to the small number involved and the geographic spread of the practices this a minor data quality issue.

Timeliness and punctuality

Timeliness reports the time between when the data was recorded and the delivery of the product that uses the data, which in this case is the publication of the GP Contract Services publications.

In response to user feedback, the data for the learning disability health checks scheme and network contract directed enhanced service are published on a monthly basis, and can be accessed via the links below:

Learning Disabilities Health Check Scheme publication page

Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service publication page

In response to user feedback, the data for the core GP contract service are published on a quarterly basis, and will be updated on the main GP contract services publication page each quarter:

GP Contract Services publication page


Accessibility and clarity

Data for each GP Contract Service will be available on the NHS England webpage in .csv files. The data are presented at GP practice level; mapping data provided by the Organisation Data Service (ODS) can be used to map practices to higher geographies e.g. Integrated Care Boards (ICB's) or Regions.

The GP Contract Services data will be freely available on the NHS England webpage. However, NHS England should be clearly acknowledged as the data sources whenever these data are reused. See the NHS England Terms and Conditions webpage for further information.

Coherence and comparability

GP Contract Services - Data for automated collections are specified in the form of Business Rules, which may or may not define aspects of clinical care in the same way as other public health sources. For example, patient registers used in the INLIQ may not precisely match equivalent disease definitions that are used by epidemiologists. It is important to take account of the clinical definitions that are used in the Business Rules before comparing GP Contract Services data with other sources.

Each GP Contract Service, and therefore the Business Rules associated with the service, may change from one year to the next; therefore, counts/indicator achievement may not be directly comparable each year. See the NHS Employers General Medical Services for details regarding year on year changes to the GP Contract Services.

INLIQ - Indicator THY001 (The contractor establishes and maintains a register of patients with hypothyroidism who are currently treated with levothyroxine). The terms of this indicator are satisfied if the practice was able to produce a data extraction according to the rules for the population specified above. The response is either True or False (a Boolean) not a patient count and is therefore not shown in the published CSV although it is included in the data dictionary.

The number of patients on the Thyroid register does get returned for THY002 and can be used to show which practices maintain a thyroid register.

Performance, cost and respondent burden

A validation exercise takes place on the GP Contract Services data. This involves NHS England sub-region teams confirming the data from GP practices ahead of any payments made on the back of these data.

Confidentiality, transparency and security

Published GP Contract Services data are derived from the CQRS. Users of the CQRS (i.e. appropriate persons from GP practices, ICBs and sub-ICB locations) can monitor their own data on a continuous basis throughout the year. They also have access to reports, which provide the same level of information that is published by NHS England in the GP Contract Services publications.

The GP Contract Services publications have been subject to a risk assessment around disclosure and appropriate controls have been implemented where necessary.

See the NHS England Freedom of Information webpage for further information.

Assessment of user needs and perceptions

NHS England encourage users to provide feedback on publications, via the user feedback surveys within each publication. Feedback from previous GP Contract Services publications demonstrated a need for the Learning disabilities health check scheme data to be made available in a more timely fashion; these data are now published on a monthly basis as a result.

Conversely, limited use of the majority of the GP Contract Services publications has prompted NHS England to publish these data as management information, with the provision of less contextual information and analysis for these services.

Queries and feedback can also be received through the following channels:

Email:           [email protected]

Telephone:   0300 303 5678

NHS England encourages all users to provide feedback on publications. This feedback is sought so that we can improve our publications and better meet users’ needs in future.

Last edited: 26 May 2023 12:44 pm