Health and Social Care Information Centre

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Health and Social Care Information Centre
non-departmental public body overview
Formed April 1, 2013 (19 months ago) (2013-04-01)
Jurisdiction England
non-departmental public body executives Kingsley Manning, Chairman
Andy Williams, Chief Executive
Parent department Department of Health

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health.

Previously known as the NHS Information Centre, HSCIC is designed to be England's central, authoritative source of health and social care information.[promotional language] Acting as a hub for high quality, national comparative data for secondary uses, the HSCIC delivers information for local decision makers to improve the quality and efficiency of frontline care.[promotional language]

Its primary aim is to drive the use of information to improve decision making and deliver better care by providing accessible, high quality and timely information to help frontline health and social care staff deliver better care.[promotional language] It stores and analyses data on all hospital activity in the NHS in England. See

The organisation was created as a special health authority on 1 April 2005 by a merger of parts of the Department of Health, parts of the NHS Information Authority, and the Prescribing Support Unit.

Following the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the HSCIC changed from a special health authority to an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (ENDPB) on 1 April 2013. Effective at this time, HSCIC will take over the NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) programme.[1]

It runs the Health Survey for England (HSE) and oversees parts of the troubled NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), whose component projects are now under new names.[edit]

A programme called was announced by the HSCIC in Spring 2013. Its aim is to extract data from GP surgeries (GPES) to a central database. Members of the English population who are registered with GP practices are being informed that data on their health may be uploaded to HSCIC unless they prefer this not to happen in which case they may object to their data being used by informing their GP. The data on patients who have not objected may then be used in anonymised form by health care researchers, managers and planners including those outside the NHS such as academic institutions or commercial organisations. The use of identifiable data is governed by the common law on confidentiality, UK Data Protection Legislation, the 2006 NHS Act and the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. Identifiable data can only be released in compliance with those laws. Software and services are being provided by Atos[2][3] which has itself received criticism for some of its other UK government projects.[4]

Since its launch, the program was controversial.[5] Initially criticism focused around the lack of patient awareness of the programme, and the lack of clarity around options for opting out of the data extraction. The leaflet sent to households in England was criticised for only describing the benefits of the scheme, and not including an opt-out form.[6] The programme was stopped in May 2014 and in October 2014 six clinical commissioning groups in four areas of England were selected to take part in a "pathfinder" programme involving 265 GP surgeries with 1.7 million patients across West Hampshire, Blackburn and Darwen, Leeds and Somerset.[7]


  1. ^ "The Health and Social Care Information Centre Annual Report and Accounts 2011/12". Retrieved 19 Apr 2014. 
  2. ^ "". Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "General Practice Extraction Service (GPES)". Atos. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Independent - 40 per cent of GPs plan to opt out of the NHS big data sweep, due to a lack of confidence in the project". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "MedConfidential - "Better information means better care" leaflet". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  7. ^ " pilot schemes poised for launch". Pharma Times. 8 October 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 

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