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How do we collect and process HES data?

Monthly provisional data

HES extracts are taken from the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) data warehouse on a monthly basis, at pre-arranged dates during the year. HES data has been collected this way since April 2008

Each extract is cumulative and contains data submitted for the financial year so far, i.e. month 1 will only contain the data submitted with an activity date in April, but month 6 will contain data submitted with an activity date from April to September. One of the reasons for this is that additional data may be needed to update patient records from earlier in the year, e.g. an episode may potentially run for several months or an amendment may need to be made as clinical coding takes place on discharge.

HES represents a series of fixed positions aligned to extracted data, while SUS is continuously updated whenever data is submitted. This is why there can be differences between SUS and HES even when looking at the same time period.

Annual refresh and final year data

At the end of each financial year we produce the final year data publication. At the end of the year after the 12 monthly submissions, there is an additional submission date to support what is called the annual refresh, where providers can revise and update their submissions for the year.

A provisional extract is generated from the annual refresh submission and is referred to as the "month 13" extract. This allows HES users an early provisional view of the final year data before final publication. Before we release the final publication we will give the providers the opportunity to reject our proposed changes to the data for HES regarding any provider organisation code-mapping or the removal of any duplicate records.

While data relating to episodes and spells for a particular year can be amended and updated in SUS long after the year has passed, no further SUS updates are applied to HES which is fixed after final year data publication. This is why there can be differences between SUS and HES even when looking at the same time period.

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