The Public Health Common Dataset (PHCDS) contains annual datasets of public health statistics from all regional and district health authorities, and family health services authorities.
Each PHCDS dataset consists of a number of indicators on topics such as demography, fertility, mortality, morbidity, and the decennial census. Indicators are aggregated statistical measures describing a group of patients or a population, compiled from measures or assessments made on people in the group or population. Indicators are available for administrative areas within the NHS in England from 1996; data is also available for local authority areas.
The data within the PHCDS is by administrative areas, therefore it is important to understand the administrative structure of the NHS. However, the administrative areas of the NHS have undergone significant re-organisation during the years that the PHCDS has been produced. In 1988 the Department of Health (DoH) was responsible for the NHS, NHS Regional Health Authorities (RHAs), District Health Authorities (DHAs), and Family Health Service Authorities (FHSAs). In 1996 DHAs and FHSAs were merged and replaced by Health Authorities (HAs). The structure of the NHS includes HAs and Primary Care Groups (PCGs).
The scope and content of the PHCDS has changed and developed since its inception. In 1998, the PHCDS itself was absorbed into the Compendium of Clinical and Health Indicators which are based on mortality data. In addition some indicators look at hospitalisation for specific causes, some screening activities and regional data on health and lifestyle. The set also includes some basic social and demographic indicators, mainly derived from the 1991 census.
The PHCDS includes many hundreds of health indicators calculated from individual health and local authorities (where possible) in England and Wales. A health indicator is a characteristic of an individual, population or an environment which can be measured and used to describe one or more aspects of the health of an individual or population.
The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.