Hospital Episode Statistics

YHPHO has become part of Public Health England, joining its Knowledge and Intelligence Team (Northern and Yorkshire).

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What is the HES Service?
What is HES information used for?
How is the HES Service accessed?
What data is available?
What are the effects of patient confidentiality?
Do you want to know more about HES?
What is the HES Service?

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) is a database containing information about patients treated at NHS providers in England. HES contains patient level data for admitted patient care (from 1989/90 to date) and outpatients (from 2003/04 to date) however, patient names, addresses, and notes are not available.

The YHPHO HES Service provides information and analysis of HES data for the Yorkshire and Humber Region.

What is HES information used for?

HES information can be used for comparative analyses to study health variations, assess service interventions, benchmark providers and undertake equity audits. HES has been used for reviewing:

Emergency admission rates of children with respiratory illness by Local Authority (LA)
Ethnic breakdown of hospital episodes by PCT
Admissions due to drug use and drug poisoning by LA, PCT, age, sex
Hip and knee replacements by PCT
Revascularisation rates by PCT

How is the HES Service accessed?

We offer two services:
Standard outputs - as part of our ongoing work programme all PHOs contribute to a national suite of standard outputs which aim to provide the most commonly requested analyses. The outputs are presented using InstantAtlas, an interactive web based tool which shows the data in map and table form. This is a continual development, so we are always interested in your views of what data you would like to see in these outputs.

Access the

Ad hoc request service – this is a responsive service to assist organisations to carry out specific analyses which cannot be fulfilled using the standard output service, which the organisation could not do with its own data, or where the analysis is not easily available from another source. This includes one-off short requests as well as involvement in larger research projects. This service is used primarily by the NHS and those working in partnership with the NHS to deliver health services (e.g. Local Authorities, PCT's and voluntary organisations).

To access the ad hoc request service you can e-mail or telephone us. Please outline the data you require and why you need the data. We will contact you to discuss and refine your request. Requests should have a public health focus. We particularly welcome requests that can be applied across the region. The service is currently free at the point of enquiry.

What data is available?

In addition to demographic details of patients such as age, sex, ethnicity and residency, HES records contain many fields including information on diagnoses and operative procedures, and admission and discharge details. HES covers private patients treated in NHS hospitals but not private patients treated in private hospitals.

HES is not a live system; there is a time lag of around 6 months between the Provider submitting the data and YHPHO being able to access it. This is because various data quality checks and validations are applied to the data, which is then cleansed prior to release.

YHPHO have access to HES data for England since 1989/90, for admitted patient care (inpatients and day cases). Outpatient data is also available although only from 2003/04 onwards.

List and explanations of the fields available can be found in the HES data dictionary

What are the effects of patient confidentiality?

HES contains record level information on all admitted patients treated in NHS hospitals in England including some sensitive fields. YHPHO mainly release only aggregated data and do not release record level outside the NHS.

Both individual patient and healthcare professional data need to be respected. In addition to the Data Protection Act YHPHO are fully signed up to the HES Protocol: this requires us to suppress any aggregated data containing values between 1 and 5 for data at local level (SHA or lower) except in special circumstances with agreement from the NHS Information Centre. Any customers requiring low numbers will need to make a business case to YHPHO and sign the HES Protocol should the case be approved.

Do you want to know more about HES?

Free downloads and further information about HES is available from the national HES website http://www.hesonline.org.uk. This includes HES resources, FAQs, the HES data dictionary, articles and updates, and free data downloads.

Standard outputs for Yorkshire and Humber Region are available from:
Hospital Episode Statistics Downloads

Last Updated: Monday, 25th March 2013

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