Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) Data

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) is the national statistical data warehouse for England of the care provided by NHS hospitals and for NHS hospital patients treated elsewhere.

Important information

Use of the HES dataset is governed by both the Data Protection Act and guidelines decided by the Department of Health, both of which are designed to protect not only the individual patient but also the individual practitioner or care provider. Consequently, it is not currently permitted for us to release data at ward level or below, nor are we able to release information such as GP practice code if this would enable an individual GP to be identified. The tables you can access from this site therefore contain data at PCT level only for males and females by year.

For more information about services provided by the HES Team, please click here.


The HES Service

1: Key Indicators

Note: these are currently being reviewed and will be released in the New Year.

A number of routine statistical outputs, referred to as Key Indicators, have been produced following a consultation exercise with various organisations within the South West Region: these indicators are now available at PCT level. It is not intended that the list should be exhaustive, nor the format static. Over time, and after further consultation with colleagues throughout the South West, the range of indicators will change to reflect your requirements. At present the indicators are presented for individual years, for males, females, and persons.

Confidentiality agreements with the Department of Health require that we suppress not only values of less than six, but also any numbers, including rates, in other cells that would allow such a value to be calculated. As a consequence, you may find that certain indicators, for instance the one for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, do not provide you with the information that you require, and in such situations one solution, if requested, would be for us to combine three years of data so that numbers are hopefully increased to a level where suppression is not necessary.

2: Ad hoc analyses

To complement the provision of key indicators we are also providing an ad hoc request service, as we recognise that from time-to-time there will be a requirement for HES statistical outputs that are not routinely produced.

The principal condition attached to this service is that the information requested should inform regional knowledge, and that the information requested could not reasonably be obtained from another source. All requests will need to be approved by the Regional Director.

Examples of ad hoc requests completed so far include: varicose vein admissions; people admitted for long-standing illness; all cause admissions (including and excluding haematology and renal day cases); CABGs, PTCAs and unstable angina in the Swindon area; cataracts, hip, femur, and knee procedures.

Who is this service for ?

This service is primarily for analysts based in PCTs, but health professionals and those involved in partnerships with health (e.g. Local Authorities) will also be able to access HES through this service.

Will it cost me anything?

Both the key indicators and the ad hoc service are provided free at the point of enquiry, although as with any service this may need to be reviewed in the future. Depending on the demand for the ad hoc service and the current resources available we may need to limit the number of requests for information, perhaps by restricting the number of requests to a set number per PCT, although it is not our wish to do so.

Further information

If you have suggestions for the list of key indicators, or would like to discuss an ad hoc request, please contact . Comments are also welcome.

Please note that due to the complexity of the HES database and the range of information that may be requested there is no pro forma as such to complete, and consequently you are requested to please provide a comprehensive description of your request. In addition to listing the variables that you are interested in please remember to include in your request information such as:

  • the time period of analysis;
  • whether or not you wish the analysis to be restricted to residents only;
  • whether or not you have suitable denominator data for the calculation of rates.


This information will be used as the basis for further discussion and refinement if necessary. Ad hoc requests usually involve a process of clarification before an analysis can be completed, which can take some time, submitting a request does not mean you will receive results immediately.