For the 2010-11 financial year, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) has collected almost 88 million records detailing outpatient appointments by NHS hospitals in England or performed in the independent sector, and commissioned by the English NHS. The latest HES data are available via the internet from the Freely available data section of the HESonline website [www.hesonline.nhs.uk].
Outpatient HES data was collected for the first time in 2003-04. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) first released outpatient data at the end of July 2006 and the data was originally released on an 'experimental' basis. Since then, the experimental label has been removed and in 2008 the outpatient published tables were accredited as a National Statistic. This means the data within these specific tables has been produced in accordance with the 'Code of Practice for Official Statistics'.
To fully realise the advantages, the quality and coverage of the HES outpatient data needs to be improved with the support of providers throughout England. Provider level information is available in the supporting Excel document, 'NHS Outpatient Statistics: Provider Level Analysis, 2009-10 to 2010-11'. This presents information at national, strategic health authority, hospital provider (where submitted) relating to:
- Type of attendance and sex
- Type of attendance
- Attendances by age
- Non attendances by age
- First attendances by source of referral
- First attendance by outcome
- First attendances from patients referred by General Medical and Dental Practitioners by time waited
- Selected main specialties.