Dear Victoria 

Compliance review of statistics on Mandatory Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance in England

We recently completed our compliance review of UK Health Security Agency’s statistics on Mandatory Healthcare Associated Infections Surveillance, against some of the principles of the Code of Practice for Statistics. I am pleased to confirm that these statistics should continue to be designated as National Statistics. 

We carried out the review because the responsibility for the end-to-end production and publication of the National Statistics was transferred from Public Health England (PHE) to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in 2021. Our review found positive features that demonstrate the trustworthiness, quality and value of the statistics: 

  • There are assurance processes and training in place to ensure that the statistics are produced and published to the quality that meets users’ needs, reducing the risk of error that could be brought about by changes to personnel as the responsibility for production has moved to a different organisation. 
  • To understand more about how healthcare associated infections affect different groups of people, UKHSA plans to include data on ethnicity. You have told us that you will do this by working to link data, such as Hospital Episode Statistics, to fill this data gap and not add to the burden on data suppliers, which is positive. 
  • It is good that UKHSA plans to engage with users during 2022 to make them aware of planned improvements and to understand their requirements about the granularity of the data and suggestions for the most insightful commentary. 

We have found several areas to address so that the statistics can continue to demonstrate the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value: 

  • The change of responsibilities from PHE to UKHSA is not clear for users of the statistical reports. It would be good to improve transparency, for example by including a short note in the forthcoming Quarterly and Annual Reports to explain the change to the statistics producer for users. 
  • The pre-release access list was last updated in 2019 and does not reflect the dissolution of PHE. UKHSA should review and ensure that the lists of pre-release access organisations and roles are up to date. 
  • To reinforce trustworthiness, UKHSA should update the Data Quality Statement for these statistics, to reflect the change to the statistics producer, as well as any process or methodological changes. And subsequently ensure that all outputs link to this latest, updated Data Quality Statement. 

I would like to thank your team for their positive engagement on this review. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspects of this letter further. 

I am copying this letter to Jonathan Lewis, Head of Statistical Governance at UKHSA and Russell Hope, Gram Negative Team Lead at UKHSA, with whom the domain will keep in touch about the progress made with the recommended actions. 

Yours sincerely

Mark Pont
Assessment Programme Lead