Please note: an updated version of this publication is available here.

This publication 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.

The OHE Guide helps answer the following questions.

  • Where do I look for statistics?
  • What sorts of statistics do governmental and non-governmental bodies produce?
  • What do they cover?
  • How do I find them?
  • When I find them, how do I use them or where do I go for help and advice?

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 expenditure: 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 key 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 key facts and figures, data issues and points of interest, selected methods, and key sources.