This month The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published a new tool which aims to bring together health statistics from across government in one place. Covering a wide range of topics from alcohol to dementia, the tool aims to make it easier for anyone to find the information they need on health in England and is an improvement made as a direct result of Office for Statistics Regulation’s 2015 systemic review of the health and care statistics in England. Theodore Joloza, Head of Health Statistics Transformation at ONS explains the importance of this new tool.
Health statistics in the UK come from a range of different sources which can make it harder for users to find and understand what is available.
This is why we have launched an improved version of a health statistics tool for England, which pulls together links to a wide range of published health and care statistics from across government in one place. It covers a range of themes from smoking and adult social care to figures around births and dental care. This aims to make it easier for people trying to use our statistics by ensuring they don’t have to visit multiple websites to find the health statistics they need. With this tool, users can find the links to the statistics they require in one place by simply searching by theme, keyword or region.
This idea for this tool started back in 2015 when the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR)’s systemic review identified a number of issues:
- Official health statisticians often focussed on servicing producers’ own immediate policy and operational uses.
- The health and care statistics landscape was data rich but information poor: the importance of analysis had been neglected, as had support for other analysts and researchers.
- Statistics were published on a variety of different websites, in different formats, with no single portal available to guide researchers or the public.
A lack of coordination was considered a large part of this problem. The main recommendation was for better collaboration to improve coherence and accessibility of health and social care in England.
So, following the formation of the English Health Statistics Steering Group (EHSSG) (which following initial progress, OSR handed over the coordination role for improvement to EHSSG) we launched an initial beta landscape tool in 2018 enabling users to access published health statistics in one place. We’ve now improved that tool again which makes it even easier to navigate by a wider audience, from policy makers to academics to interested members of the public.
We’re really proud of the improvements we’ve made in this area and will continue to look for new ways to improve how users access and use these vital and important official statistics around health.
Comment from Office for Statistics Regulation:
We are pleased to see the next iteration of the health and care statistics landscape tool which should help users find the statistics they need. In our recent report on mental health statistics in England, we called upon all those departments involved in mental health statistics to continue to develop their existing collaborative arrangements to improve the statistics. The continued development of the landscape tool is a great example of statistics teams working together and we look to the mental health theme group of the English Health Statistics Steering Group taking a leadership role in ensuring that cross-department work in mental health statistics is productive.