Health and Social Care

We are interested in statistics and data concerning the health of the UK population and on the health and care services provided in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our focus includes information on health care provision, social care provision, health status and disease, disability, cause of death, and health and safety at work. We are also interested in the personal, social, economic, and environmental factors influencing health.

Our vision is to support collaboration between statistics producers who are linking and analysing data about cost, outcomes and people’s lived experiences – of health and social care. We also champion the joining-up of data on health and social care with data on other aspects of people’s lives, including crime, justice, education, employment and welfare. This allows the production of richer and more relevant data and statistics to generate new insights, enhance public debate, and increase decision-makers’ confidence in the evidence before them.

Current and recent activities

Assessments and compliance checks:

Systemic Reviews:

  • Our systemic review of Mental Health Statistics began in 2019, initially focussing in statistics in England. We have now completed the stakeholder engagement for this phase of the review and plan to publish our findings by summer 2020. We then plan on extending the review to cover the other UK countries, and will also be considering what next steps are necessary given the likely impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s mental health.
  • We have published a number of reports from our review of Adult Social Care statistics and we understand that the pace at which producers can respond to our recommendations will be significantly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These reports cover each country individually, as well as a summary for the whole of Great Britain. We have also published a summary of our work and will continue to advocate for improvements to these statistics. For example, in June 2020, we submitted evidence to the Commons Health and Social Care Committee inquiry into Social Care Funding and Workforce.
  • In April 2020, we published an update of the follow-up to the Joining Up Data for Better Statistics systemic review.

COVID-19 statistics and data:

  • COVID-19: 2020 has started off under lockdown, with the nation avidly perusing the daily number of deaths and number of tests. A high level of concern seems to have pushed more people into contacting OSR to ask for better statistics. We continue to respond at speed to user concerns, working with statistics producers to ensure the statistics that are produced are timely and meet user needs. For example, we published a review of the COVID-19 surveillance data, a letter about the COVID-19 data in Northern Ireland and a letter about our concerns with the COVID-19 testing data.
  • We will call for a plan of the data that will be needed as we emerge from the immediate crisis. For example, statisticians and analysts in all administrations of the UK will need to publish statistics to answer questions about the effect of comorbidities, health inequalities and person characteristics on peoples’ experience of COVID-19.

Other areas of interest:

NHS England is co-ordinating a Clinical Review of NHS Access Standards and has published an update. We welcome the update’s transparent explanation of their process and findings so far. We will continue to monitor changes as they relate to the subsequent design and publication of official statistics, advising NHS England as necessary. We are keen to hear what users think about the proposed changes to these statistics.

Contact: Caroline Jones, Sarah Whitehead and Vicky Stone


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