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17/02/15 14:17

Improving access to NHS statistics

Weekly A&E stats to be published from 3 March

Weekly statistics for A&E performance will be published from 3 March, as one of the measures to improve accessibility to information about NHS performance, the Scottish Government has announced today.

Following a request from the First Minister for the publication of weekly A&E statistics to be considered by officials, the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician has today confirmed the move. The Chief Statistician has set out that, each week, statistics on activity at Scotland’s core emergency departments will be published.

The new weekly publication will be an Official Statistics product and will complement the planned monthly publication of A&E waiting times statistics by NHS Scotland Information Services Division (ISD), also scheduled to begin on 3 March. The weekly publication will include the total number of attendances at each core emergency site and a breakdown of waiting times.

To aid accessibility to the large volume of NHS statistical information already published, the Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison has tasked Scottish Government officials to work with ISD to establish in the coming months a new NHS Performs website. This will make it quick and easy to find out key NHS statistics - such as waiting time performance, cancelled operations, staffing levels, and hospital activity rates.

Health Secretary Shona Robison has stated that the moves would increase NHS Scotland’s transparency and accountability.

Ms Robison said:

“The regular collection of year-round A&E statistics first began under this government, and I welcome the move to the weekly publication of A&E figures which will make NHS Scotland even more accountable to the public and patients who use their services. The new weekly Scottish A&E statistics will also contain more detail than the statistics that are published by NHS England.

“The official statistics division of the NHS in Scotland, ISD, already publish and analyse a huge amount of NHS performance data. But we must go further and ensure that the data is not just published but is also readily accessible and understandable, which is why we are developing a new NHS Performs website to bring together the many performance statistics together at either a hospital or health board level. ISD will be inviting feedback on how information can be best presented to aid people’s understanding of NHS performance.

“I am also today writing to my opposite number in Wales to inform them of the decision in Scotland and to ask them to consider matching our commitment to transparency in NHS performance and for Wales to also move to weekly A&E reporting.”

The Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician, Roger Halliday, said:

“We regularly review the content and frequency of our statistical publications, to ensure they continue to meet the needs of users.

“There is a clear desire for more frequent, validated A&E performance information to be published and we have listened to these views, and have worked with ISD to deliver a revised package of emergency statistics.

“I am pleased that we have been able to make this change, as it will ensure that the public can have access to accurate, high-quality statistics which comply fully with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.”

Notes to editors

NHS Scotland ISD have also previously confirmed that it intends to publish annual in-depth publications focusing on A&E activity from the previous year, starting in summer 2015, which will contain information on longer term trends on emergency treatment performance and use.

On 3 March the A&E performance statistics for week beginning Monday 16 February will be published for each emergency core site in Scotland, and will include the total number of attendances and the number waiting longer than 4, 8 and 12 hours. On 3 March ISD will publish the monthly A&E statistics for January 2015, which will include data on both core and non-core A&E sites.

A preliminary version of the NHS Performs website is expected to be established by the end of March 2015 to aid discussion amongst the users of NHS data. ISD will also be identifying how it plans to enhance the accessibility of its website in consultation with the public and other developments in the availability of statistics on NHS services.

The creation of new statistical series is a decision for Ministers, while the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician has overall responsibility for the quality, integrity, format, content and timing of Scottish Government official statistics publications.

Further information on the role and responsibilities of the Scottish Government Chief Statistician can be found here: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About/ChiefStatistician

An update to the forthcoming statistical publications can be viewed here:
http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2005/03/18798

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Man looking at hospital charts: From SG Flickr

Man looking at hospital charts

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