Dear Ed

Publication of COVID-19 related statistics by Public Health Scotland

Thank you for your letter of 1st April 2020 welcoming the launch of Public Health Scotland.  As you indicated, we have launched in unprecedented times and Public Health Scotland is continuing the work being led by Health Protection Scotland, ISD Scotland and NHS Health Scotland to support the COVID-19 effort in Scotland.

We are currently working with key stakeholders, including Scottish Government and NHS Boards, to review our official statistics outputs during this period and we plan to publicise this on the Public Health Scotland next week (week commencing 27 April 2020).  Key statistical series will continue where we can but some will be paused due to a combination of data and staff availability to undertake the work in NHS Boards and Public Health Scotland.  We will keep users informed of our plans through-out the COVID-19 period.

In addition, we plan to release a weekly report on COVID-19 (starting on Wednesday 29 April), bringing together a range of statistics to provide a weekly summary for users.  We will be working with other statistical producers in Scotland, in particular Scottish Government and National Records for Scotland, to ensure we collectively present a coherent picture on COVID-19 for users. We would therefore like to publish this weekly bulletin at 2.00pm each Wednesday, at the same time NRS publishes its weekly report on death statistics. Accordingly, I would be grateful if you could indicate your support for Public Health Scotland moving the release time for the weekly report to 2.00pm.  I appreciate that this represents a departure from the requirements of the Code of Practice for Statistics, but consider it prudent to align with other COVID-19 related statistics in Scotland.

Public Health Scotland also provides a range of management information to Scottish Government for its daily reporting on COVID-19 statistics.  To complement the figures released by Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland has developed an interactive dashboard which gives a more visual presentation of the statistics.  The dashboard is currently in beta format (and can also be accessed via the Scottish Government’s daily reporting website) and we will enhance the content over time based on user feedback.   We will pre-announce any changes to the dashboard content so that users are aware of our plans in advance.

Please let me know if you have any questions about our plans.  Thank you.

Best wishes,

Scott Heald
Head of Profession for Statistics