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Licensed data from NHS Digital

Wilmington Healthcare processes record level, pseudonymised*, non-sensitive, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DIDs) and Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) under license from NHS Digital.

What is HES data?

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) is a database containing details of all admissions, A and E attendances and outpatient appointments at NHS hospitals in England.

Initially this data is collected during a patient’s time at hospital as part of the Commissioning Data Set (CDS). This is submitted to NHS Digital for processing and is returned to healthcare providers as the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) data set and includes information relating to payment for activity undertaken. It allows hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver.

Wilmington Healthcare receive and process the HES data from NHS Digital and processes the data in accordance with our NHS Digital Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) and Data Sharing Framework Contract (DSFC).

HES data are collected in accordance with applicable data protection law. NHS Digital publish further information here.

Legal basis for processing

The legal basis for processing of personal data relating to patient health is under Article 9(2)(j) of the GDPR – Processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 89(1) based on Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject. The data subjects’ interests and fundamental rights are protected through appropriate minimisation of fields for each project that Wilmington Healthcare undertakes. The datasets are stored and processed securely in line with ISO27001:2013 standards and Wilmington Healthcare securely destroys any data that is no longer necessary to process or under licence. Data Destruction certificates are provided to NHS Digital when this process is necessary.

The data requested is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child covered by Article 6 (1)(f) of GDPR. The processing of the data is essential, without it Wilmington Healthcare would not be able to produce the tools. The data will be used to support the NHS either directly through the delivery of these tools and bespoke analysis or indirectly through non-NHS organisations, where solutions are provided with the NHS as the end beneficiary. As set out in the legitimate interest assessment, Wilmington Healthcare processes record level, pseudonymised, non-sensitive, non-identifiable Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DIDs) and Mental Health data in order to:

  1. Raise disease awareness, management and diagnosis through analysing data and publishing reports and tabulations which are available in the public domain
  2. Support the commissioning, healthcare and service improvement cycle and enhance patient outcomes through understanding disease progression and applying to the continual improvement of service development
  3. Produce longitudinal rare disease analysis and reports which enable patients to receive the correct treatment for a condition that had not yet been diagnosed

All Wilmington Healthcare solutions that incorporate these datasets are small number suppressed in line with the HES Analysis guide. These datasets are stored and processed securely in line with ISO27001:2013 standards.

The data are being used in the delivery of tools or bespoke analysis solutions to support the NHS either directly or indirectly through non-NHS organisations. These solutions are provided to offer services for commissioners, providers and NHS suppliers that use the data analysis and service modelling to deliver improved service delivery and improved patient outcomes.

Examples of disease insight reports, based upon this data, that have been produced by Wilmington Healthcare can be found here:

Acquired brain injury insight report

Multiple Sclerosis disease insight report

Wessex Neurology Intelligence Report

This data is not used to populate automated decision-making tools.

Who does Wilmington Healthcare make the data available to?

Wilmington Healthcare provides the use of the aggregated, small number suppressed outputs to life science (pharmaceutical, and medical biotechnology), medical technology, charity/not for profit, academia and NHS organisations to work with either GPs, GP surgeries, Commissioners, Trusts (Acute and Mental Health), Area & Regional Teams, Vanguards, STPs, Strategic Clinical Networks, Government & Government aligned groups, DH, NHS England, NICE and Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN), Social Care, Local Authorities, Health and Wellbeing Boards, NHS England Commissioning Support Units (CSUs), Patients and companies that specialise in providing services on behalf of the NHS, Charity and not-for-profit organisations. Wilmington Healthcare also works in support of the delivery of New Models of Care and therefore will be required to work with customers and the new NHS bodies as they form that, as yet, remain unnamed. For example, Integrated Care Systems (ICS) and Primary Care Networks (PCN).

The outputs allow users and the target audience to:

  • Identify where local health and social care organisations should focus their planning
  • Understand the efficiency of existing clinical pathways and services
  • Model more efficient, integrated (between health and social care) pathways and services by understanding patient cohort journeys and the progression of poorly managed disease
  • Monitor the success of a newly implemented pathway and/or service
  • Assist local health and social care environments in identifying where service efficiencies and patient outcomes can be improved before monitoring the impact of any intervention
  • Study disease progression, over time, both locally and nationally. Process map patient cohort journeys through data to show the cost of ineffective disease management and the consequences to patients and the social system
  • Show healthcare activity and cost, comparing like-for-like organisations and trending data over time
  • Map performance locally and nationally where specialist teams or resources are in place
  • Provide a reliable evidence baseline for performance to inform key decisions and to enable measurement of impact on the condition
  • Address healthcare inequalities
  • Provide transferable collaborative service solutions
  • Measure the success and effectiveness post implementation of a new pathway or service implemented within the health and social care sector

Record level data supplied by NHS Digital to Wilmington Healthcare is not supplied to third parties.

Patient rights

Patients are not under a statutory or contractual obligation to provide the personal data. Patients have the right to withdraw consent or opt out via NHS Digital or Public Health England. Patients also have the right to request from NHS Digital or Public Health England the rectification of their data, or restriction of processing of personal data concerning the data subject, or to object to the processing of such personal data, as well as the right to data portability. Patients would need to contact NHS Digital or Public Health England to exercise these rights. For further information please visit nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters or digital.nhs.uk/services/national-data-opt-out.

*Pseudonymisation is the procedure by which the most identifying fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms.