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Primary Care Mortality Database

The Primary Care Mortality Database (PCMD) holds mortality data as provided at the time of registration of the death along with additional GP details, geographical indexing and coroner details where applicable.

PCMD currently holds data from 1997 up until the most recent monthly data extract, based on the 2011 census structures. Monthly data is added by the second week of the following month. User access to the data is based on the upper tier Local Authority (LA) or the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) structures they are responsible for.

The PCMD is managed by us and is accessed securely using Open Exeter, via a HSCN (N3) connection.


Who the data is for

This data is for public health analysts in Local Authorities and analysts in NHS organisations who require deaths data for statistical purposes.

This data can be supplied under both:

  • section 42(4) of the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) as amended by section 287 of the Health and Social Care Act (2012)
  • regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

Even where access is granted, sharing of Patient Confidential Data obtained from PCMD cannot be passed onto any other organisation, including the NHS, unless that organisation will also be using it for public health statistical purposes and has completed the relevant forms for their organisation with approval from NHS Digital.


Available data

The PCMD contains monthly and annual extracts of individual record level data on deaths supplied directly by ONS and includes:

  • a single linked dataset, including registered GP practice, patient details and NHS number
  • data that can be extracted by residence or GP practice registration
  • the option to view by the CCG where the deceased was registered, or CCG/ upper tier Local Authority where the person resided

Legal access

These data are supplied to public health in Local Authorities and NHS organisations for public health statistical purposes under: Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) and Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

The Act specifies that the births and deaths information can only be disclosed to health bodies and Local Authorities if either: it consists of statistics or is for the purpose of producing or analysing statistics; and is for the purpose of the performance of functions in relation to public health.

NHS Digital has produced a word icon PCMD factsheet [88kb] (Opens in a new window) to assist in determining whether your organisation can access PCMD data.


Accessing the service

Customers returning after the 2016/17 application

If you're a returning customer after the 2016/17 application, you will no longer need to complete our forms.

However, you will now be required to login to your DARS online account to renew your DSA and make any updates to these forms. See DARS for guidance.

Other applicants

You will need to complete the four forms below (3 ONS forms and the DARS form), but as a new applicant you need to apply directly through DARS. Please see the DARS process page for guidance. The forms need to be emailed to enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk in the first instance.

icon ONS data access agreement [254.08KB]
icon ONS short declaration of use form [157.17KB]
icon ONS short declaration list [60.62KB]
icon Data Access Request Service (DARS) application form [104.15KB]

When filling in the DARS form, in Section 2: Summary, please select 'New' as the Agreement Type. Also in Section 3: Datasets held/requested, delete all the information in the first table for Data already held for this project/purpose.

To ensure your application is processed smoothly, you should you check that you have the following in place:

  • your organisation has a data sharing contract with NHS Digital (if not, then this can be set up)
  • Information Governance Toolkit - this needs to be achieved at version 14 and at level 2 (satisfactory)
  • a valid Data Protection Act (DPA) registration number
  • a privacy notice explaining that data is being processed by your organisation in fulfilment of its public health function
  • a secure email address (either an nhs.net or a .gcsx.gov.uk  address)
  • an HSCN (N3) connection

Please do not edit the form fields, as they are used in the automated application process.

If you encounter any problems adding the scanned signatures to the forms then you can put the signatures in a separate document and send them alongside the forms.

If you have any queries on how to complete the forms, then please contact us on: enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk or call 0300 303 5678.

Please return completed forms to enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk before the end of July 2017.

Data Sharing Agreement

Once your application has been approved, the DARS team will electronically send you a Data Sharing Agreement to read through and sign-off. It is not until this is completed and signed by all parties that we are able to grant any access to data.

Audit

We will be carrying out data sharing audits to check that our customers are meeting the obligations in their Data Sharing Contract and Data Sharing Agreement.

Encryption of files at rest

A new requirement for access in 2016/17, as stipulated in the ONS Data Access Agreement form in section 10.8, is that record level data files are encrypted to AES 256 standard (e.g. password protected with WinZip V18.5 or later). This only applies to how files containing record level data must be stored at rest. Although a new requirement, this also applies to all record level mortality/births data obtained in previous years, as permission to retain data from previous years is dependent on adherence to the terms and conditions of the active data access agreements.

Have a question? Call us on 0300 303 5678 or contact enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk.

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