Linking health and local government data at household level to understand social determinants of health

London Borough of Islington

  • Being run by the London Borough of Islington, in partnership with Islington Clinical Commissioning Group, NEL Commissioning Support Unit, and NIHR CLARHC North Thames.
  • Aiming to improve the use of information in the health care system and local government in Islington to assess patterns in the social determinants of health.
  • Will create an innovative, household-level linked dataset between NHS and local government. 
  • Running from January 2018 to April 2019.

The social determinants of health are a key driver of demand for health and care, and in the London borough of Islington, they underpin the stark inequalities in the area. To better prioritise services and interventions, there needs to be understanding about the impact of the social determinants of health on health status, outcomes and service use. 

In order to gain this understanding, data in local government need to be linked to NHS data. For example, describing how housing conditions might impact on hospital admissions; serious childhood illnesses and school attendance and attainment; anti-social behaviour and hospital admissions; and household-level health status and health service use. 

This project will see the development of an innovative linked dataset between the NHS and local government. Council data will be linked with NHS data using an encrypted (pseudonymised) unique property reference number (which every address in Great Britain has, and is collected on both NHS and local government datasets). This will enable analysis of social determinants of health at a household level.

The project will bring together analytical capabilities across the local NHS, local authority and academia. Currently there is limited understanding between the NHS and local government around data. This project will involve training sessions to generate shared understanding and learning. 

The linked dataset will allow the impact of social determinants of health on health service usage to be quantified, and will help identify unmet needs and inequalities across the local public sector system.

It will also enable more sophisticated analyses of return on investment, with a particular focus on prevention, early intervention and social prescribing.

The findings of the project will be communicated through a variety of methods across the wider health and care system within Islington, including clinicians, NHS managers, councillors and officers. 

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Sarah Dougan, Chief Analytical Officer, London Borough of Islington.

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