The process of NHS Digital collecting these data will involve one data file per general practice being sent to GPES. These data files will be checked as part of the data collection process and, once this checking is complete, they will be loaded into the Data Management Service (DMS), which is NHS Digital's single, standardised, secure method for capturing, storing, managing and distributing data. Data will not be held in GPES as this is only the mechanism for collecting these data; instead, these data will be held within DMS.
Further data checks, including checking whether or not patients' NHS Numbers are valid, will be performed within DMS. A report will be produced on any data checking failures and this information will be included in the information that is reported back to GPs and general practices. All invalid data will be removed from the data set before any data linkage and analysis takes place.
One of the metrics included in this data collection involves linking these data that are collected from general practices to hospital data (that is: Hospital Episode Statistics Admitted Patient Care data), which are already held by NHS Digital. These hospital data will only include patients who were admitted to hospital as an emergency and who had a primary diagnosis of one, or more, of the conditions covered by this metric.
The data linkage between these general practice data and these hospital data will be performed using the NHS Number data item only. There must be an exact match on the patient's NHS Number in the general practice data and the patient's NHS Number in the hospital data. This data linkage will follow the NHS Digital standard approach for data linkage.
Following the data linkage for the one metric that involves data linkage, all of the data will then be analysed appropriately. This will involve transforming the record level data into aggregate level data (that is: counts of patients) so as to determine the numbers of patients who fall into the numerators and denominators for each of the given metrics. Dividing each numerator count by its equivalent denominator count will give the percentage of patients for each given metric.
These analysed data will then be used to populate automated reports. There will be one report produced for each general practice; this will include the metrics for all of the GPs who are registered at that general practice. Each report will only include data concerning the patients registered at that general practice, along with comparative Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) level and national level information. Data concerning patients registered at other general practices will not be included in these reports except in the form of this comparative information.