English data now online

The English data is now on the QOF database joining the Scottish and Northern Ireland data which has also been tidied up a little. The English data was a little delayed by the postal strike eventually arrived safely.

There are a couple of "virtual" indicators, largely relating to prevalence. I have created two depression indicators relating to the prevalence of people requiring screening for depression and those who have a history of depression recorded in the past. I would avoid putting too much weight on the latter as historical coding may be really quite variable between practices. In fact as practices were not specifically working towards these virtual indicators they should all be used with some caution.

I have also been asked about smoking prevalence. There is therefore a virtual indicator here too. Here it relates to the number of smokers amongst those covered by the smoking area (those with CHD, LVD, stroke, asthma, COPD and hypertension) who have been asked. This is not the only way to do it and is purely a judgement call on my part. In particular it may not correlate with some of the "official" registers and is not the one used for payment.

You may also notice that I do not put prevalence information for the palliative care domain on the main prevalence list. For one thing this prevalence is not used for payment. Secondly the numbers are generally so small as to be unreliable and thirdly they are so small they are suppressed for confidentiality reasons in many cases by the departments of health.

There are about half a dozen English practices without names or addresses. There was not a comprehensive look up table included with the English data this time so I have used several different sources. I will try to correct these in time.

Finally we are still awaiting the Welsh data. I have heard nothing official but will keep asking!

Resources for Primary Care Research

I have had a few emails over the last few months about using QOF data for research and trying to break down some of the data. Unfortunately QOF is quite limited in what can be divined about individual patient treatment. There is a little more potential for breaking down populations with some of the composite registers this year but things are still pretty limited.

For those looking at used primary care data there is an excellent report on all of the sources of primary care data available. A user’s guide to data collected in primary care in England is a summary of all of the data sources, including QOF, with details of their uses and limitations. It is published by the Eastern Region Public Health Laboratory - one of the rather unsung chain of public health laboratories.

This has to be essential reading for anyone conducting or even contemplating doing research or analysis on primary care data. I can't actually see that a printed version is available or I would get a copy for my bookshelf - but get it on your computer now!

UK Prevalence Data

Although we don't have full practice level data for Wales and England yet there is some national level data. We can work out prevalence in all four of the countries and for the UK as a whole. They are listed below. Smoking is not in the table as it is not listed at the national level but should be available when the practice level data comes through.

On the subject of practice level data there is some more information on the information centre website. They are planning to send out CDs so I will apply for one. Unfortunately there is a postal strike over the next week which may affect delivery somewhat. There should certainly be some demand. The 2006 full data database has been downloaded from this site over eight hundred times.

No news from Wales as yet.

England Scotland N Ireland Wales UK
Asthma 5.78% 5.48% 5.75% 6.53% 5.79%
Atrial fibrillation 1.29% 1.27% 1.25% 1.61% 1.30%
Cancer 0.91% 0.92% 0.79% 0.93% 0.91%
Chronic kidney disease 2.39% 1.82% 2.44% 2.28% 2.34%
COPD 1.43% 1.86% 1.53% 1.94% 1.49%
Coronary heart disease 3.54% 4.55% 4.18% 4.28% 3.67%
Dementia 0.40% 0.55% 0.52% 0.42% 0.41%
Depression Screening 7.24% 7.50% 7.56% 7.39%
Depression Ever 6.25% 6.13% 7.27% 6.55%
Diabetes mellitus 3.66% 3.52% 3.17% 4.21% 3.66%
Epilepsy 0.60% 0.72% 0.74% 0.73% 0.62%
Heart failure 0.78% 0.88% 0.81% 0.51% 0.78%
Hypertension 12.51% 12.61% 11.68% 14.26% 12.58%
Hypothyroid 2.55% 3.14% 2.90% 3.13% 2.63%
Learning disabilities 0.26% 0.41% 0.32% 0.30% 0.28%
Mental health 0.71% 0.79% 0.75% 0.72% 0.72%
Obesity 7.42% 7.01% 8.38% 9.64% 7.53%
Palliative care 0.09% 0.10% 0.10% 0.10%
Stroke and TIA 1.61% 1.97% 1.62% 1.97% 1.66%