Health and care statistics

The United Kingdom Health Statistics Steering Group (UKHSSG), formerly the English Health Statistics Steering Group (EHSSG), was formed in 2016, following a systematic review of health and care statistics for England by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) in 2015. The review found that before, it was not always possible to get coherent, accessible information about health and care statistics. The change in the steering group name reflects new priorities to address UK coherence within health statistics.

Several important statistical suppliers are members of this group. There are members from:

  • Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) including the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities (OHID)
  • NHS Business Services Authority
  • NHS England (NHSE)
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)
  • Welsh Government
  • Public Health Scotland
  • Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

In March 2018 the OSR gave the UKHSSG the responsibility to improve the coherence and accessibility of health and social care statistics. Our objectives are to:

  • remove duplication of statistical releases
  • harmonise methodology and definitions
  • increase user engagement
  • align publication dates
  • improve accessibility of statistics

We updated our work plan for 2022 to 2027 following the COVID-19 pandemic. This work plan will be regularly updated with information about new challenges and developments.

We have set up several UK Health Statistics theme groups which cover all areas of the health and care statistics system. The theme groups include members from all the main producers of official health statistics for England and the groups are also expanding to include membership from across the four nations where there is enough resource to do so. Where appropriate we have also included major data users, such as those developing government policy on health.

Guidance has been created for the following health topic areas to provide information about the comparability of data across the four nations:

This information will be updated when new guidance has been published.

We have developed:

These tools help users explore official published health and care statistics across the four UK nations in a single central place.

The ONS produces a monthly health and social care newsletter which brings together official statistics and insight from across the GSS. To subscribe and get future updates about health and care please join the mailing list.

Health and care statistics provide important information about:

  • trends in the population
  • patterns of medical conditions and the need for healthcare
  • the activity and effectiveness of health services – this includes information about the numbers of patients treated

By publishing this information, we can help people to:

  • understand the workloads of different services
  • study trends in demand and supply
  • compare the quality of health care services and how well they are working in different areas and organisations

Health and care statistics are widely used to:

  • plan services at national and local levels
  • develop government policy on major topics, such as pensions
  • allocate local government and NHS funding according to need
  • measure changes over time
  • measure differences between geographical areas and social groups

These data sources contribute to scientific knowledge about population health. This is known as epidemiology. The data sources also contribute to scientific knowledge about wellbeing and provide evidence for many types of medical research.

Last Updated: March 2024