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Thursday 27th October 2016

Data quality criticised by Audit Commission

17th April 2009

An Audit Commission report has criticised the quality of information produced and made available by the NHS.


The report, 'Figures You Can Trust: Data Quality in the NHS', said that although some developments had been made since the publication of its report in 2004, there had been "limited progress".

The Commission said health service information is “often not what it needs to be to meet the demands now being placed upon it.”

The report identified persistent weak spots within the NHS, including organisations' failing to "embed" high standards of information into their actions and a deficiency in the coordination of reviews and improvement of data standards.

The Commission said that there was an increasing requirement to tackle the problem, particularly in light of the dependence of Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review of the NHS on high data quality.

In addition it stated that boards should take a “greater lead in improving and assuring themselves about the quality of data they receive and that their organisations publish.”

The report concluded that the NHS needed to ensure a “more coordinated and joined up approach to reviewing and supporting the development of data quality by key stakeholders and regulators.”

It added that the Department of Health and its staff should provide clear guidance to underpin the importance of high data quality.


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