Dear Sir Robert Chote,
Thank you for your letter of 1 November 2022 and the work of the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) to review and share lessons for health and social care statistics from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As noted in your report, the role of analysts in providing high quality evidence and timely insights has been critical during the pandemic to inform our understanding and decision making and I share your appreciation and thanks to all of our analysts. It was fantastic to see the efforts of the COVID and Flu National Vaccination Programme Team rewarded by winning the Top Team Award at this year’s Scottish Health Awards. This was very much a collaborative effort involving numerous colleagues including analysts within the Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland, the wider NHS and beyond.
Whilst we continue to closely monitor COVID-19, our analysts play a key role in providing evidence across the full range of health and care programmes, including supporting NHS recovery and the introduction of the National Care Service. The development of Scotland’s first Data Strategy for health and social care is progressing and this will set out the vision and ambitions for how we use data to deliver better services, greater innovation, and ensure the people of Scotland have greater access to, and greater control over, their health and social care information. We will of course ensure the Data Strategy reflects the important use of data to produce statistics and research to serve the public good.
The Scottish Government remains committed to learning lessons and we acknowledge the importance of delivering in the areas highlighted in your report – horizon scanning to understand users needs, making data and statistics available in an accessible, transparent and timely way, collaboration and communication – to provide high quality, trusted and valued statistics.
My officials from Health and Social Care Analysis (HSCA) division regularly meet with OSR’s Health and Social Care team and will keep them updated on our work and continual improvements across our statistics.