Dear Colleagues,

Today, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has published its review; Improving health and social care statistics: lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. I am writing to senior officials in bodies responsible for health and social care statistics in England to ask for your support in implementing the recommendations from this review.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a huge public appetite for data and statistics. You should be proud of the remarkable efforts of analysts in your organisations to meet this demand, overcoming challenges which would previously have seemed insurmountable.

The pandemic has also drawn attention to existing challenges for health and social care statistics. I am sure you would agree that the health system needs both to learn lessons and to build on its achievements in this area.

In England the number of organisations responsible for the production and publication of health data and statistics creates additional complexity. Strong leadership and collaboration are required across these organisations, so that shared priorities can be identified, and publication plans can be coordinated. This will create a clearer and more coherent picture for users and enable the system to be more responsive to emerging user needs. As senior leaders your support for the work of analysts in your organisation and across the health system will be vital in achieving this.

I have copied this letter to Lucy Vickers, Head of Profession for Statistics, Department of Health and Social Care; Chris Roebuck, Chief Statistician, NHS Digital; Mark Svenson, Head of Operational Information and Head of Profession for Statistics, NHS England and Improvement; and Emma Rourke, Director of Health Analysis & Pandemic Insight, Office for National Statistics.

Yours sincerely,

Sir David Norgrove

This letter was sent to the following:

  • Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Social Care
  • Simon Bolton, Chief Executive, NHS Digital
  • Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive, NHS England
  • Sir Ian Diamond, National Statistician, Office for National Statistics
  • Jenny Harries, Chief Executive, UK Health Security Agency