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Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS)

The Emergency Care Data Set is a new national data set for urgent and emergency care. It will replace the current data set used to collect information from Emergency Departments across England.

The Emergency Care Data Set is replacing the current Accident & Emergency Commissioning Data Set (CDS type 010). It will be implemented through a new version of the A&E CDS - CDS 6.2.1 Type 011 - ECDS.

By using ECDS across all emergency departments, we will be able to compare data and provide a more complete picture of all emergency attendances.

Time scales

  • Type 1 & 2 Emergency Department Types - October 2017
  • Type 3 & 4 Emergency Department Types - October 2018

Support and Guidance

Why is a new data set for emergency care required?

These changes are being made so we can continue to provide information to support the care provided in emergency departments. The information available, currently, is limited and does not include many of the data items needed to understand capacity and demand or improve patient care.

The Accident and Emergency Commissioning Data Set (CDS Type 010) hasn't kept up with changes in health care practice and it is widely known that this has created in an 'information gap' in the data collected from emergency departments.

This information gap creates issues including:

  • Poor quality data undermining the integrity of secondary uses information (published as Hospital Episode Statistics on a monthly and annual basis) that relies on data collected currently via CDS.
  • System capacity and demand management are impossible to determine accurately locally or centrally.
  • Current healthcare metrics do not consistently measure inputs or outputs, making comparisons of 'value added' or different types of healthcare delivery ( for example minor injury unit or walk-in centres impossible.
  • Use of multiple current coding systems with inconsistent implementation means data are not valid nor reliable. This makes the information insufficient for either clinical use or policy-making.
  • NHS Digital data has shown that less than half of all emergency department attendances have a valid, coded diagnosis.
  • Healthcare commissioners who rely on data obtained through the Secondary Uses Service (SUS), can not accurately plan or monitor emergency care.

Benefits of a new data set for emergency care

Once ECDS goes live, we expect so see:

  • Improved quality of data collected in emergency departments relating to patient presentation, diagnosis, discharge and follow up will support a better understanding of the value added by the introduction of new models of care and ensure that patients are receiving care in the most appropriate care setting.
  • The information generated will allow commissioners to accurately fund demand, and implement strategic changes, e.g. through payment and Commissioning For Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) mechanisms
  • Support for future healthcare policy and strategy to ensure an improved quality of patient care, such as that articulated in the "Keogh Review" of Urgent and Emergency Care and the NHS England "Five Year Forward View".
  • Improved data access, research and audit in emergency healthcare to support service improvement initiatives.

For further information about ECDS, or to request a copy of the anticipated benefits, the expected business change and ECDS capabilities, please email

Emergency care data set (ECDS) guidance for clinical and administration staff during implementation.

ECDS guidance documents for clinical and administration staff during implementation.

Emergency care data set (ECDS) technical and implementation guidance

We have provided some technical and implementation guidance documents to support how the Emergency Care data set (ECDS) CDS Type 011 will be used by different users and suppliers and other groups.

Emergency care data set webinars

The Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS) team are running a series of webinars to provide advice and guidance to help organisations implement ECDS. Copies of the webinars and slides run between from February 2017 are available. The webinars we have run so far have covered a number of subjects including: supplier payments, ECDS champions, earlier adopters and implementation.

ECDS feedback

We welcome your feedback about the Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS). Please complete our on-line feedback form if you have a suggestion on how we can improve specific data items. Or If you would like to give general feedback about ECDS please contact us.

Have a question? Call us on 0300 303 5678 or contact

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