The OHE Guide

The OHE Guide to UK Health and Health Care Statistics

Published in October 2013, this publication can be downloaded free of charge from the publications section of this website. The OHE Guide provides both up-to-date statistics and a guide to finding and using health statistics from the UK and, to some extent, other OECD countries. Data are presented in easy-to-read tables and figures, which also are available on this website in Access the Data.

The purpose of the OHE Guide is to help answer the following questions.

  • What statistics do governmental and non-governmental entities produce?
  • What topics do they cover?
  • How/where can such data be found?
  • How can the data best be used and what help or advice about use is available?

The OHE Guide consists of four sections, plus a glossary and references.

Demographics: demographic issues from the population census; population estimates and projections; mortality statistics and summary measures, including life expectancy and standardisation techniques; and the collection and use of morbidity and lifestyle statistics

Health care expenditures: the structure and financing of the UK NHS and the cost of various activities; some basic economic indicators also are included

Hospital services: detailed explanation of NHS data collection, focusing primarily on hospital activities, waiting times and workforce

Primary care services: details about the NHS Family Health Services, covering general medical, pharmaceutical, dental and ophthalmic services

Although the publication is not a critique of health statistics, it does highlight some important issues in reliability and appropriate use. The tables and figures can be used on their own or with the text, which serves as a key reference guide. Each section of the publication contains a number of elements including key facts and figures, data issues and points of interest, selected methods, and primary sources.