Intended for healthcare professionals


Information on community health services

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 29 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:265

More and better information is needed—not less

  1. Sylvia Godden, Visiting research fellow,
  2. Allyson Pollock, Head,
  3. Derek Pheby, Director
  1. Health Services ad Health Policy Research Unit, School of Public Policy, University College, London WC1H 9EZ
  2. Unit of Applied Epidemiology, University of the West of England, St Matthias Campus, Bristol BS16 2JP

    The current thrust of government policy in the United Kingdom is to shift acute care to alternative settings. The critical question is whether these arrangements will meet the health and social care needs of the local community, and that question can be answered only if there are data on needs, service use, and outcomes. The fragmented arrangements for providing and funding health and social care present a compelling case for universal standardised data collection. Yet the NHS information strategy, far from strengthening community information, suggests its contraction

    Data sets and data collection for community NHS services have a chequered history in the NHS. In 1981 Dame Edith Körner's steering group on health services information recommended standardised datasets for community health services and acute hospital services. As a result, three types of community data are collected: on staff groups, on facilities including beds, and on patient contacts.1 Despite limitations, the data have proved essential for …

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