To deliver public health, local authorities need to use available health data sources to get relevant health and social care information. This data can contain person identifiable data (PID) which may identify patients such as name, address, age, sex, ethnicity, disease, use of hospital services, and/or NHS Number. Some data may not be obviously identifiable, however there may be the potential to deduce individuals' identities through combinations of information, either by the people handling the data or by those who see published results.
Northamptonshire County Council will have access to the following data:
- Primary Care Mortality Database (PCMD) – The PCMD holds mortality data as provided at the time of registration of the death along with additional GP details, geographical indexing and coroner details where applicable.
- Births and Vital Statistics datasets – Births files include date of birth, sex, birthweight, address, postcode, place of birth, stillbirth indicators and age of mother. Deaths data includes: deaths broken down by age, sex, area and cause of death sourced from the deaths register.
- Hospital Episode Data (HES) – is a data warehouse containing details of all admissions, outpatient appointments and A&E attendances at NHS hospitals in England. This data is collected during a patient's time at hospital and is submitted to allow hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver. HES data is designed to enable secondary use, that is use for non-clinical purposes, of this administrative data.
Northamptonshire County Council's Public Health service will access health and related information to analyse the health needs and outcomes of the local population and for monitoring trends and patterns of diseases and the associated risk factors.
The County Council Public Health team is however committed to using pseudonymised or anonymised information as much as is practical, and in many cases this will be the default position. Pseudonymisation is a procedure by which the most identifying fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms. There can be a single pseudonym for a collection of replaced fields or a pseudonym per replaced field. The purpose is to render the data record less identifying and therefore lower customer or patient objections to its use.
Anonymisation is the process of removing identifying particulars or details from (something, especially medical test results) for statistical or other purposes.
All information accessed, processed and stored by public health staff will be used to measure the health, mortality or care needs of the population; for planning, evaluating and monitoring health; protecting and improving public health. It is used to carry out and support:
- health needs assessments
- health equity analysis
- commissioning and delivery of services to promote health and prevent ill health
- public health surveillance
- identifying inequalities in the way people access services
- joint strategic needs assessment
- health protection and other partnership activities
Any information held by the council about individuals will be held securely and in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Information will not be held for longer than required and will be disposed of securely.
The legal basis for the flow of data for the above purposes is set out in Section 42(4) of the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) as amended by section 287 of the
Health and Social Care Act (2012) and Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.
Where can I get advice?
If you have any worries or questions about how your personal information is handled please contact our Data Protection Officer at
DPO@northamptonshire.gov.uk or by calling 01604 368 360.
For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number.
ico.org.uk or email
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