NHS Digital Data Release Register - reformatted

Children's Commissioner's Office

Opt outs honoured: N

Sensitive: Sensitive

When: 2017/09 — 2017/11.

Repeats: One-Off

Legal basis: Health and Social Care Act 2012

Categories: Anonymised - ICO code compliant


  • Mental Health Services Data Set


The Children's Commissioner's Office requires a pseudonymised extract from the Mental Health Service Data Set (MHSDS) to conduct a review of distances travelled by children to Tier4 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) inpatient units. This project is being undertaken as part of the Children’s Commissioner’s Business Plan for 2017-18 and supports The Children’s Commissioner’s statutory roles to promote and protect children's rights with particular focus on vulnerable groups. Specifically, the Children’s Commissioner requires this data given that it has responsibilities to promote the following rights under Sections 2(1), 2(3) and 2(4) of the Children’s Act 2004 (as amended): • Section (2)1 – promote and protect Children’s rights to healthcare as set out in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child • Section 2(3) - duty on the Commissioner to “consider the potential effect on the rights of children of government policy proposals and government proposals for legislation” • Section 2(4) - responsibility towards children living away from home. “In the discharge of the primary function, the Children’s Commissioner must have particular regard to the rights of children who are within section 8A (children living away from home or receiving social care) and other groups of children who the Commissioner considers to be at particular risk of having their rights infringed.” A key aim of the project is identifying instances where children are having to travel ‘out of area’ (i.e. excessively long distances from home) to receive access to care so that these shortfalls can be addressed. A particular focus is on variation (if any) by area and children's characteristics. A key issue is that while the NHS has a current definition of ‘out of area’ for adults but not for children. This project will perform an equivalent assessment for children. Prior discussions with clinicians have indicated that this will be a sensitive issue to tackle with the challenge being to balance the need for children to receive care sufficiently close to home while also having access to appropriate specialist care. Key findings will be published in a report, used for briefings and evidence submissions.

Expected Benefits:

The information is required to support the Children’s Commissioner’s statutory remit to promote awareness of the views and interests of all children in England. The findings will be used to inform policy makers around health and social care, ensuring policy for Tier 4 CAMHS is evidence-based and of benefit to children and young people with mental health conditions. The ultimate benefit from this work will be to identify where more hospitals beds and services are needed to stop children having to go a long distance from home. This analysis will highlight where those shortfalls are and the dissemination of the findings will contribute towards those issues being addressed.


The planned outputs are: 1. A short policy report focussed on the findings and recommendations following the analysis 2. Briefings 3. Press releases and associated media activity These outputs are expected to be complete by October 2017. Findings will be reported to the Department for Health ahead of its green paper. A version of findings may be additionally published in a format targeted to a younger audience. A summary of the project and its findings will be included in the Children’s Commissioner’s annual report to parliament. Findings may also be shared with other public bodies in the event that public bodies have a legitimate interest and request evidence submissions. Outputs will contain no raw data and will contain only derived information in the form of aggregated statistics, tables, graphs and visualisations. All outputs will be compliant with MHSDS disclosure control rules including suppression and rounding.


NHS Digital will produce an extract of record level pseudonymised data from the MHSDS appropriately filtered to meet the specific requirements of this analysis. No personal data will be used. The information requested is primarily focused on admissions rather than on individual patients. The data will be stored on the Department for Education secure network on a secure folder with restricted access - only accessible to certain individuals through password-protected staff accounts on password-protected devices. The data will be accessed only by individuals within the Children's Commissioner's Office Evidence Team, all of whom are substantively employed by the Children’s Commissioner’s Office. All Children’s Commissioner staff members have information security training and enhanced DBS checks. The data will not be used for any other purpose beyond the assessment of Tier 4 CAMHS Children’s Units. The raw data will not be shared with any third parties. Any reports made available outside of the Children’s Commissioner’s Office will be compliant with the MHSDS disclosure control rules including suppression and rounding. Dependent on the findings, the Children’s Commissioner’s Office might want to discuss their analyses with other parties in a more granular level which may involve disclosure of low cell counts. These parties will be limited to the Department of Health, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Should the need arise, these would be private discussions hosted by the Children’s Commissioner’s Office. Every care will be taken to protect the anonymity of individuals. No third party will be given access to raw data and third parties will not be able to take any information away from the discussion that could put patient confidentiality at risk.