How to find information that is already available

The Department of Health and its Arm’s Length Bodies publish a large amount of information relating to health and social care in England.

Before submitting a request for information, you should see if the information that you are seeking is already published. If you request information from the Department that is already published, then we will simply refer you to the published source.

The following sources should be consulted, where possible, before submitting an FOI request to the Department.

Department of Health website

You may well find the answer to your question is already published on our website.

If you require assistance using and finding information on our site please see our comprehensive Help pages. These include specific guidance about using the search facilities and the most common FAQs (frequently asked questions) received by our Customer Service Centre.

Publication Scheme

The Department’s Publication Scheme guide is published on the website. The guide explains what information the Department makes routinely available and how it can be accessed. All information published on the website can be accessed free of charge.

NHS Choices

NHS Choices contains a wealth of information about the NHS, including information on NHS services and organisations.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is an agency of the Department of Health which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe.

Their website contains information and publications about the regulation, safety and quality of medicines, blood and blood products and medical devices, including safety warnings and alerts. It includes advice from independent advisory committees and details of learning events and educational programmes.

NHS Connecting for Health

NHS Connecting for Health is a Directorate of the Department of Health that supports the NHS in providing better, safer care, by delivering computer systems and services that improve how patient information is stored and accessed.

Their website contains details of new computer systems and services that have been implemented across the NHS, how they benefit patients and how they have been developed and delivered using local and national IT suppliers. Information about the National Programme for IT is also included.

Advisory and Arm’s Length Bodies

Many of the organisations that work with DH have their own websites which you can access from the web address below. Please check these sites for published information.


The NHS Information Centreprovides facts and figures to help the NHS and social services run effectively. It collects data from across the sector, analyses it, then converts it into useful information and statistics.

These statistics are published on the NHS Information Centre’s website and cover a range of topics from GP earnings to the number of school children who have taken drugs

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces independent impartial statistical information to improve our understanding of the UK’s economy and society. A variety of statistical data are published on the ONS website that relates to health, care and quality of life. is a new government data website which seeks to give a way into the wealth of government data by providing a single access point to central government datasets. A variety of health related statistical information is available on the site.

If you are unable to find the information you require

If you are unable to find the information you require using the above resources then you can submit an FOI request to the Department.


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