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Primary Care


The vast majority of NHS patient encounters occur in primary care healthcare settings. Data collected during those encounters sit in thousands of separate GP practice systems around the country. There is enormous potential for these data to provide more information about the health of the population.

Ideally we will one day be able to routinely link primary and secondary care data at record level as this will greatly increase our understanding of population health. Until then we have to use the various data sources that are currently available. Details of how to access them are shown on this page.

The new National General Practice Profiles are now available. The profiles, which have been produced by the Public Health Observatories in England, include updated data for the indicators that were included in 2010, together with additional indicators including:

  • Estimates of the ethnicity of practice populations
  • Estimates of life expectancy, fertility rates and low birth weight rates at practice level

The profiles also offer improved functionality, including:

  • Comparison of a practice with: host PCT, host CCG, deprivation decile and peer group
  • Production of scatter plots
  • A symbol to indicate significant changes from 2010 to 2011

We are keen to hear what you think of the profiles and how you are using them. Please complete the User survey via the link at the top of the profiles or email us at

The profiles contain practice level data from a number of sources. Almost all the source data, along with a number of additional indicators, can be found on the new which is provided by the .

Clinical Commissioning Groups

There are currently around 40 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the East of England. The configuration of CCGs has been included in the 2011 National Practice Profiles and so a practice can be easily compared with its host CCG. For this reason the new profiles no longer have the clustering function that was in the 2010 profiles. However, Erpho has created an East of England GP Practice to CCG lookup. Until the configuration of CCGs stabilises it is something of a challenge to keep the list up to date. Please let us know of changes by emailing

Erpho has also created full set of maps depicting the CCGs in the East of England these can be found under Clinical Commissioning Group maps

Data sources
Primary care data sources report

Although published in 2005, the report below still gives a good overview of primary care data sources:

A user's guide to data collected in primary care in England.
Published: Sep 05
Author: Shamini Gnani and Azeem Majeed

The most important primary care data that are publicly available include:

These are also now available from the NHS Information Centre's

Prevalence of Chronic diseases by age and sex

The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database has been combined with the QOF readcode definitions for chronic diseases to provide prevalence information by age and sex. Two further breakdowns are provided:

  • By region - Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland as well as SHAs within England
  • By IMD - 2007 IMD scores for England registered patients

See our visualisations of the prevalence data

By region
By age

Chronic Disease Prevalence Models

The public health observatories in England have generated models of estimated prevalence of a number of the common chronic diseases. The models can be found here. Erpho is updating the prevalence models as part of the 2011-12 work programme and they will be published as part of the 2011 National Practice Profiles on 7th December 2011.

Resources and tools
Date Title Format View
5 Jan 2007 Primary Care Trust codes from October 2006
Downloadable spreadsheets for PCT codes including name, organisation code, address and opening dates, as well as the codes for the Strategic Health Authorities and IT Clusters that they belong to.
download resource
23 Nov 2007 QResearch
QRESEARCH is a large consolidated database derived from the anonymised health records of over 9 million patients.The data currently come from 554 general practices using the EMIS clinical computer system. The practices are spread throughout the UK and include data from patients who are currently registered with the practices as well as historical patients who may have died or left. Historical records extend back to the early 1990's making it one of the largest and richest general practice databases in the world.
open resource url
8 Nov 2005 E-Health Insider Primary Care
The latest news concerning developments around primary care data and information technology.
open resource url
22 Sep 2005 National Clinical Audit Support Programme: National Diabetes Audit
The National Diabetes Audit (NDA) is a national audit service sponsored by the Healthcare Commission. Available since April 2004, it enables routine data collection, analysis and feedback of diabetes related data for all adults and children with diabetes in England.
25 May 2006 NHS Primary Care Contracting website
The NHS Primary Care Contracting website brings together information and resources to help you understand and implement the new primary care contracting arrangements. PCC supports the development of primary care across all PCTs in England.
open resource url
  Prescription Pricing Authority
The work of the Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA) is fundamental to the payment and budget management of professionals involved in front-line patient care. Their prescribing information services provide the basic building blocks to enable improved patient care and for performance management in the primary care sector.
6 Dec 2005 PRIMIS+
PRIMIS is a free service to primary care organisations to help them improve patient care through the effective use of their clinical computer systems.

If you have any comments about the content of this topic page or have any resources that you would like to be considered for inclusion, please contact our Primary Care lead, .