Recommendation 262

Local information systems

All healthcare provider organisations, in conjunction with their healthcare professionals, should develop and maintain systems which give them:

  • effective real-time information on the performance of each of their services against patient safety and minimum quality standards
  • effective real-time information of the performance of each of their consultants and specialist teams in relation to mortality, morbidity, outcome and patient satisfaction

In doing so, they should have regard, in relation to each service, to best practice for information management of that service as evidenced by recommendations of the Information Centre, and recommendations of specialist organisations such as the medical Royal Colleges.

The information derived from such systems should, to the extent practicable, be published and in any event made available in full to commissioners and regulators, on request, and with appropriate explanation, and to the extent that is relevant to individual patients, to assist in choice of treatment.

Recommendation 262 – Local information systems | Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry: government response

Timely, accurate and robust data should be used by every provider to determine the quality of the services that they provide and identify whether there are any risks to patient safety.  Wherever possible, such information should be available to commissioners, regulators and the public to drive improvement and support choice.

To support this, for example:

  • the NHS Leadership Academy in the Healthy NHS Board set out clear roles for regarding the use of information across the board.  It stated that executive directors should take ‘… principal responsibility for providing accurate, timely and clear information to the board’ (see recommendation 245), and
  •  data on providers’ performance is becoming increasing available including data at specialty level (see recommendation 264) and the provider’s compliance with quality standards (see recommendation 246 regarding quality accounts)

However, rather than determining how local providers should meet their information needs centrally, the Department of Health is committed to connecting existing systems, see Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution and the Power of Information.  As such, providers will set specific requirements locally but based on national standards to ensure that information can be shared across the system.

Some national standards have already been set, including the use of the NHS number, and further standards, such as interoperability of patient records, will be outlined in NHS England’s technology strategy, which is due to be published in early 2014.


NHS England plans to publish consultant-level outcomes data from all appropriate NHS funded national clinical audits before 2020.  Consultant Outcomes Publication began with ten national clinical audits in June 2013 which were also made available through the NHS Choices Website.  Consultant data for neurosurgery and upper gastro-intestinal has also now been published. NHS England will improve the way in which data is published and has supported the development of patient-friendly guidance which has been issued to professional societies. This outlines the indicators that must be included in consultant level reporting such as patient involvement in publication and the linking of results for the department to an individual’s work at the trusts in which they practice.