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ISD Scotland better information, better decisions, better health


Information Services Division's Major Work Programmes

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland


This page provides an index to ISD's major programmes of work. There are however many additional smaller projects which lie out-with these general category headings. To access a complete listing of all outputs please view our A-Z Index (organised by key-words and titles) or our site map where you can view a high level summary of the site structure. Alternatively you may wish to use the search engine which has now been upgraded to give more accurate and informative results.

If you can't find what you're looking for we are always happy to respond to Information Requests by telephone. Our Product Support is open from 8.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 8.00am to 3.30pm on Fridays (tel: 0131 275 7050 or email: ).

Cancer | Child Health | Deaths | Dental Care | Drugs & Alcohol Misuse | Emergency Care | Equality & Diversity
Eye Care | Finance | General Practice | Health Conditions | Health & Social Community Care | Heart Disease
Hospital Care | Maternity & Births | Mental Health | Prescribing & Medicines | Public Health
Quality Indicators | Quality Measurement Framework | Scottish Healthcare Audits | Sexual Health
Stroke | Waiting Times | Workforce


The Scottish Cancer Registration scheme has been managed by ISD since 1997 and has been collecting information on cancer since 1958. The data are used for a wide variety of purposes which include: public health surveillance; health needs assessment, planning and commissioning cancer services; evaluation of the impact of interventions on incidence and survival; clinical audit and health services research; epidemiological studies; and providing information to support genetic counselling and health promotion.

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Child Health

This section of ISD Scotland presents information on a variety of topics relevant to the health of children in Scotland including breastfeeding, hospital admissions, immunisations, mortality, obesity, and children with additional support needs.

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ISD Scotland publish a wide variety of health-related data including a range of information on mortality. This section of the website aims to provide easy access to all ISD-led publications which include deaths information, as well as identifying other sources of Scottish deaths data.

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Dental Care

This section on presents data on NHS General Dental Services (GDS) registrations. The registrations are published at the following geographical levels; NHS Board, Community Health Partnership, Local Council Area, Scottish Parliamentary Constituency and Scottish Parliamentary Region. The Dental Home section provides some background information on how dental data are collected.

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Drugs & Alcohol Misuse

The Substance Misuse programme at ISD is designed to provide policy makers and practitioners with timely, robust and clear information and intelligence about alcohol and drug misuse and their consequences.

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Emergency Care

In this section our aim is to provide good quality information on unscheduled healthcare services, to support the mapping, planning, monitoring and management of these services in NHS Scotland.

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Equality & Diversity

This section presents information on how ISD develops, and works in partnership with NHS Health Scotland and NHS Boards to achieve valid and complete equality data captured across NHS Boards and used locally to support patient care and provide information for aggregated analysis.

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Eye Care

ISD holds and maintains a growing range of data relating to eye care in Scotland, including information on eye examinations, patient vouchers, waiting times for outpatient and inpatient care for cataracts, hospital activity for cataracts and other eye procedures and the Ophthalmic Practitioner Contractors Database (OPCD) which is a web-delivered data collection application for the management of the Ophthalmic List for each Health Board area in Scotland.

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ISD's NHS Resources programme collects, disseminates and interprets high quality comprehensive data on costs and expenditure across NHS Scotland and supports its use within the service. It maintains and develops the methodology for costing national hospital activity and supports benchmarking activities within NHS Scotland. In addition, the programme works closely with stakeholders to provide information that can be used to help Boards identify opportunities for improved efficiency and productivity, providing data management, analysis, project management and consultancy support.

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General Practice

ISD holds and maintains a growing range of data relating to general practices in Scotland. This currently includes information on general practices, practice populations, GPs and other practice staff, available on the GPs, practices and practice population pages; Information on the types of conditions and symptoms seen in contacts between patients and a member of the general practice team, available on the Practice Team Information (PTI) pages and information from the Quality & Outcomes Framework (QOF) of the GMS contract, including data on QOF achievements and prevalence rates, available on the QOF pages.

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Health Conditions


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Health & Social Community Care

The Health and Social Care Programme contributes to the improvement and integration of health and social care, particularly for older people and/or those with long term or chronic conditions, through the development of information, including national datasets and information tools.

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Heart Disease

This section aims to provide a "patient-centred" data and information service to support the drive for improvements in care and services for patients with coronary heart disease. We publish an annual update of statistics each Autumn.

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Hospital Care

ISD Scotland collects and publishes a wide range of information relating to acute hospital care in Scotland. This section of the website provides access to data on outpatient attendances, inpatient and day case activity, hospital beds, operations/procedures undertaken in hospital and the main diagnoses for patients treated in hospital.

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Maternity & Births

This Maternity & Births section presents information on a variety of topics relevant to pregnancy in Scotland. These include Births in Scottish Hospitals , Teenage Pregnancy and Scottish Perinatal and Infant Mortality and Morbidity Report (SPIMMR)

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Mental Health

This section provides information and technical support to improve mental wellbeing and the quality of care by driving the continual improvement of mental health information within Scotland.

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Prescribing & Medicines

ISD maintains a detailed database of details of NHS prescriptions dispensed in the community in NHS Scotland, which is augmented by information on prescriptions that originate in NHS Scotland but dispensed elsewhere in the United Kingdom. ISD makes available a range of prescribing and remuneration information to NHS Boards and the Scottish Government to monitor and report community prescribing activity. ISD also publishes Official Statistics and responds to a range of information requests.

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Public Health

ISD produces a wide range of information that contributes to understanding the health of Scotland's population. This includes information on the composition of the population, on material deprivation on deaths on aspects of inequalities on the main causes of hospital admission and on the use of primary care (GP) services. ISD also publishes information on some of the behaviours that influence health, including use of alcohol and illegal drugs. Much of the information on health and health behaviours in Scotland comes from the Scottish Health Survey. Information on the Scottish Health Survey is available both on the ISD website and on the ScotPHO website.

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Quality Indicators

The aim of the Quality Indicators service area in ISD is to improve health care of the population of Scotland by operating as the centre of expertise and to be valued as a leader in the development of quality improvement, efficiency & effectiveness indicators, hospital & benchmarking measures for NHS Services and to provide information in support of decision making for service improvement.

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Quality Measurement Framework

The Healthcare Quality Strategy for Scotland recognises the importance of measuring quality, and sets out a Quality Measurement Framework (QMF). This framework describes three levels nationally, which provide a basic structure for thinking about the intended use of sets of indicators. Level 1 of this framework describes a set of high level Quality Outcome Indicators intended to show progress towards the Quality Ambitions and Outcomes. They are expected to require long time-scales to demonstrate change. The focus of this web section is to provide information about the twelve Level 1 indicators.

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Scottish Healthcare Audits

Scottish healthcare Audits maintains a wide range of national clinical audits, many of which are speciality-based and involve a wide range of clinical, government and voluntary sector stakeholders.

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Sexual Health

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This section aims to provide a "patient-centred" data and information service to support the drive for improvements in care and services for patients who have experienced a stroke. We publish an annual update of statistics each Autumn.

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Waiting Times

The waiting times section of the ISD website provides the latest information about NHS waiting times in Scotland based on nationally available information. Waiting times are important to patients and are a measure of how the NHS is responding to demands for services. Measuring and regular reporting of waiting times highlights where there are delays in the system and enables monitoring of the effectiveness of NHS performance throughout the country. The NHS in Scotland has been set a number of targets for maximum waiting times. The Scottish Government continues to be committed to improving information on waiting to provide a clear and transparent picture of NHS performance.

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This section of our website provides the latest available information about staff employed in NHSScotland. The information collected and presented within this section is used by ISD and NHS Boards to support local, regional and national workforce planning, and will only be used and disclosed in connection with these purposes.

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© ISD Scotland 2010
Information Services Division,
NHS National Services Scotland,
Gyle Square,
1 South Gyle Crescent,
Edinburgh EH12 9EB,
Tel: 0131 275 7050  
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