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Mental Health Service Data Set (MHSDS)

We collect information about the care of children, young people, adults and older people receiving specialist mental health, learning disability and autism spectrum disorder care. The information comes to us from hospitals that care for people with mental health, learning disability or autism spectrum disorder needs, outpatient clinics, care and residential homes, community services and charities that provide NHS and privately funded mental health, learning disability or autism spectrum disorder services.

As an individual may be receiving care or treatment from a number of these places, when we receive it we join up the information about that person to create a single view of the care and treatment that they are receiving.

For example, John becomes unwell and is referred to his local community and mental health team by his GP. After an initial assessment, John's mental health gets worse and he spends a week on a mental health ward. His mental health improves and he moves back home under the care of the local community and mental health team and, after a few months, is discharged from the service.

NHS Digital will receive referral information for John including the NHS number and date of birth, a code for the GP practice that he is registered with, information from the initial assessment, the length of time John spends on the mental health ward, his discharge from the ward to the community mental health team, and his subsequent discharge from the service.

The information collected by NHS Digital

The information that is collected by NHS Digital about people in contact with these services includes:

Information about a person, such as:

  • NHS number
  • Date of birth
  • Postcode
  • Protected characteristics (e.g. gender, marital status, ethnicity)
  • Disabilities and assistive technologies used (e.g. wheelchair)
  • Local patient identifier (this is usually a number that the local providers use against a patient or service user's record) 
  • The GP practice the patient is registered with 
  • The first year in which the patient is known to have received care from any specialist mental health service 
  • Employment status (e.g. employed, unemployed, volunteer, homemaker) 
  • Living arrangements (e.g. owner, tenant, homeless)

Referral details, such as:

  • Data of referral
  • Date of first appointment
  • Details of where the referral came from (e.g. GP)

      Information about a person's condition and care, such as:

  • Dates of inpatient stays
  • Types of ward the person stayed on
  • Types of team the person has been in contact with (e.g. a community mental health team, crisis team or learning disability team) 
  • Diagnoses (e.g. psychosis or depression) 
  • Periods of seclusion or restraint 
  • Use of the Mental Health Act (including leave and absence without leave)
  • Answers to questionnaires (e.g. Experience of Service Questionnaire)
  • Types of Care Plans in place
  • Types of interventions received.

The information that could potentially be used to identify an individual (e.g. date of birth) is removed once information is linked together and is not made available for wider analysis.

How the information is used

The information that is collected is analysed by NHS Digital to produce statistical reports which are published monthly through the Mental Health Services Monthly Statistics, and annually through the Mental Health Bulletin.

Organisations can also make an application to us to receive this information, or to receive it linked to hospital information. They must follow our application process and must clearly demonstrate that their request is being made to support the provision of health and social care and the promotion of health. Data cannot be released for solely commercial purposes.

While NHS Digital receives identifiable data (such as date of birth, postcode and NHS number), this information is not included in the information we provide as part of this release.

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