Good quality, robust data enables the NHS to understand more about the populations we serve, helping to ensure equitable access, excellent experience and optimal outcomes for all.
In 2019 the Long Term Plan committed to reducing health inequalities by 2029/30 citing data which highlighted a lower life expectancy among the most deprived 10% of the population. Data captured during the COVID-19 pandemic shone a further light on population groups most at risk of poor health outcomes, which included individuals from the most deprived neighbourhoods and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Operational planning guidance was developed outlining five key strategic priorities for tackling health inequalities – a key part of this centred around data.
Working with colleagues throughout the NHS and beyond, the National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement programme is committed to developing and bringing together patient level demographic data to support regions and systems to identify at risk population groups and deliver targeted action to reduce healthcare inequalities.
This has involved work with NHS Digital to combine hospital and primary care data sets to more fully capture ethnicity recording within patient records.
The Health Inequalities Improvement dashboard has also been developed, bringing together key strategic indicators, cut by deprivation and ethnicity, in one place to measure, monitor and inform actionable insights; a number of high impact interventions have been developed to address identified gaps.
Data has also been used to inform the Core20Plus5 approach which defines a target population cohort and clinical areas of focus requiring accelerated improvement. Ambitions for improvement across the identified clinical priority areas are currently being scoped and will focus on deprivation and ethnicity. Progress against these will be regularly monitored.
Further work is planned to support the development of clinical risk tools.