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Useful links

This section provides useful links to support the health investment process



Matt Kearney


Dr Matt Kearney
GP Runcorn and Primary Care Advisor Department of Health



“The health investment packs, available below for every PCT in England, offer an excellent resource for clinicians and commissioners who want to ensure that the healthcare received by patients is of the highest quality.

By triangulating data from a number of sources, the packs help to shine a spotlight on significant variation in clinical practice and patient outcomes. Some variation may be accounted for by local population characteristics, but much is unwarranted and due to the different ways services are organised and delivered. What is achievable for patients in one area should be possible in all areas.

In respiratory disease, my specific area of interest, the analysis shows substantial variation in diagnosis, treatment, admissions and death rates. Clinicians and commissioners will want to tackle this variation because reducing unwarranted variation will improve outcomes for patients and reduce healthcare costs.

Clinicians and commissioners will want to know for example whether local providers have similar systems and offer similar services to the best performing providers. They will want to know how services can be commissioned more effectively to ensure local patients are not disadvantaged in the care they receive. By providing robust evidence of variation, the health investment packs will help identify where questions need to be asked.”




Click on the following to access the useful links and brief descriptions:


PHE launches new information portal

CCG Primary Care Commissioning Application (PCCA)

CCG Outcomes Tool

CCG and LA informaiton packs published

Health Profiles

Variation in drug use

Treatment Benchmarks - NICE Commissioning Guides

Premises Assurance Model

Strategic Health Asset Planning & Evaluation (SHAPE)

Disease Management Information Toolkit

Long Term Conditions Toolkit 

Better Care, Better Value Metrics

Opportunity Locator

Map Of Medicine

NICE Pathway Guides

Population Forecasting Tool

Quality & Productivity Calculator

Reducing Unwarranted Variation Analysis

National General Practice Profiles

NHS Atlas of Variation

Health Investment Packs


PHE launches new information portal

The Public Health England data and knowledge gateway gives direct access to analysis tools and resources for public health professionals from one single portal. Over 100 tools are available through the gateway covering a wide range of public health areas.

Click below to access the tool:



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CCG Primary Care Commissioning Application (PCCA)

An updated version of the Primary Care Commissionioning Application including CCG data is now available.

Click below to access the tool:



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CCG Outcomes Tool

In December 2012, NHS England published a set of information packs for CCGs and Local Authorities that set out key data to inform the local position on outcomes. Following feedback, a new interactive tool has now been released enabling users to drill down and compare indicators across organisations.

There are two views of the data:

  • The CCG outcomes tool allows users to view maps, charts, and tables of individual outcome indicators across CCGs, and to view a spine chart of all the outcomes for one or more CCGs.
  • The CCG outcomes explorer allows the user to explore the relationships between two outcomes or between demographic information and outcomes.




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CCG and LA information packs published


The NHS Commissioning Board has published information packs at Local Authority and CCG level.   

The Local Authority level packs present high level comparative information on the NHS, the Adult Social Care and the Public Health Frameworks. The CCG level packs provide a more detailed analysis of NHS outcomes and other relevant indicators.

The NHS Information Centre has also released its first set of CCG outcome indicators.  The information is in the form of Excel tables.  






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Health Profiles

Local Health, an online tool that presents data on populations in England, has been updated with new indicators and an improved interface.





Health profiles provide a snapshot of health for each local council in England using key health indicators.  The profiles are designed to help local councils and the NHS decide where to target resources and tackle health inequalities in their local area.  Whilst not available by PCT they do provide useful indicators in an easy to digest format.






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Variation in Drug Use


This website contains experimental data showing variation in usage of 26 NICE approved drugs.




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Treatment benchmarks - NICE Commissioning Guides


The commissioning guides provide support for the local implementation of NICE clinical guidelines. In particular, within each guide there is a link called ‘helps you determine local service levels’ where you can access treatment benchmarks. These can be used to see if your commissioning levels are above or below the benchmarks.



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Premises Assurance Model


The Premises Assurance Model (PAM) for the acute sector provides board level assurance for premises in the support of NHS clinical service delivery. PAM was co-produced by the Department of Health and the NHS and was released on the 1 April 2010. It allows provider organisations to assure their commissioners that they are achieving the required statutory and nationally agreed standards in terms of quality of premises, safety, effectiveness and patient experience.


PAM allows the efficiency of NHS premises to be assessed with respect to its range of commissioned clinical activities. It is intended that the PAM outputs should be shared with commissioners, and SHAs, as part of the on-going dialogue process to support meeting the requirements of both the Public Value Programme and QIPP challenge. PAM was announced in the 2010/11 Operating Framework and models for other sectors (e.g. mental health ) and whole organisation versions are under consideration.







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Strategic Health Asset Planning & Evaluation


The Strategic Health Asset Planning and Evaluation application (SHAPE) has been developed by the Department of Health for SHAs and PCTs. SHAPE is a web enabled, evidence based tool, designed to support and inform strategic planning. The strategic planning process involves the potential re-design and improved delivery of health and social care services and supporting estate. It is aimed at SHAs and PCTs delivering service reconfiguration within a whole health economy. It brings together existing national data sets of clinical activity, human geography and healthcare estate assets supported by Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology.



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Disease Management Information Toolkit


The Disease Management Information Toolkit provides data at PCT level on conditions contributing to high numbers of secondary care emergency bed days. It models the effects of possible interventions showing how better care will save money in the long run and reduce hospital bed days. The tool was developed by the Department of Health and can be found at:




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Long Term Conditions Toolkit  

This tool provides information on the activity, costs and outcomes of services for people with Long Term Conditions (LTCs).  By collating information from a range of LTC data sources and presenting it in a consistent format, this tool allows PCTs to compare themselves with their peers and learn from best practice in delivering effective care for people with LTCs.  Click on the icon to access the tool:  (On opening, click 'enable macros' then click 'Don't update')



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Better Care, Better Value

The 'Better Care, Better Value' metrics developed by the Institute for Innovation and Improvement, were introduced to help the NHS demonstrate that it is making the most effective use it can of public money to deliver quality healthcare. There are around 15 high-level indicators of efficiency that identify potential areas for improvement. These indicators can be used to inform views of the scale of potential efficiency savings in different aspects of care and to generate ideas on how to achieve these savings. The metrics can be found at:  




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Opportunity Locator

The Opportunity Locator tool has been developed by the Institute for Innovation and Improvement. It was designed to stimulate ideas on where commissioners should focus their attention in re-designing and shifting services away from the traditional setting of the hospital and out towards community based care. The tool has been designed to explore the potential, and opportunities, for shifting services. The tool should enable an investigation of "how" and "why" the user’s organisation might differ from others and to support commissioning priorities for health communities. The tool can be found at:  





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Map of Medicine

The Map of Medicine is helping the NHS respond to the quality and productivity challenge of delivering high quality care in the current environment. The clinical pathways in the Map present an ideal approach to health care. Health communities are using the Map's patient-centric pathways to redesign services, faster and more sustainably.  The site includes case studies which illustrate how using the Map can help make efficiency savings.  Click on the following icon to access the Map of Medicine, specifically the programme budgeting pathway:   




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NICE Pathways

NICE has introduced a new online tool to provide quick and easy access, topic by topic, to the range of guidance from NICE, including quality standards, technology appraisals, clinical and public health guidance and NICE implementation tools. NICE Pathways allows you to explore in increasing detail NICE recommendations and advice, ensuring that both commissioners and providers are up to date with everything NICE recommend.  Click below to access the pathways:




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Population forecasting tool


The following tool, developed by ONS, enables commissioners to forecast population growth by age band, and local area across the UK:




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The Quality and Productivity Calculator 

The Quality and Productivity Calculator (v2.1), produced by Primary Care Commissioning, brings together a number of national data sources to allow commissioners to identify health investment opportunities and test their planning assumptions. PCT areas can be compared against a range of indicators including spend, activity and quality data across primary and secondary care. Summary pages for each PCT show the opportunities available for cost saving and service improvement and how PCTs rank against their SHA neighbours and ONS clusters. The latest release (December 2010) has been updated to include the latest available 09/10 data.





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Reducing unwarranted variation of inpatient expenditure


There is significant variation in expenditure rates between PCTs across the country even after accounting for age, sex and need. Click on this icon to see a set of maps illustrating the variation of inpatient expenditure rates across major disease groups and interventions with the highest spend.




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National General Practice Profiles (UPDATED DEC 2011) 

The network of Public Health Observatories has produced practice profiles for all practices in England. They are designed to assist GPs, emerging clinical commissioning groups and PCTs to ensure that they are providing and commissioning effective and appropriate healthcare services for their local population. The indicators in the profiles include:

  • local demographics
  • estimated prevalence rates
  • Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) indicators
  • admission rates
  • patient satisfaction  

Click on the following icon to access the profiles:


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NHS Atlas of Variation Series (VERSION 2.0 RELEASED DEC 2011)

The NHS Atlas of Variation series has been published to stimulate a search for unwarranted variation in healthcare. The first version was produced in November 2010. The latest version, published in December 2011 has two main aims:

  • to offer clinicians and commissioners the opportunity to identify variation and reduce unwarranted variation
  • to highlight the work being done by Right Care to help support the reduction of unwarranted variation

The section entitled Dealing with unwarranted variation locally will be of particular interest (p211-214) to Health Investment Network users.  The atlases are available in pdf, hard copy and interactive versions. 

Click on the first icon to access the NHS Atlas of Variation 2.0 and the second icon to access the first version.


NHS Atlas of Variation in Diagnostic Services


This is the latest publication in the series of NHS Atlases. Diagnostic services are of great importance in the NHS because, when used correctly, they support or rule out potential diagnoses, and underpin the effective and efficient management of patient pathways. Click here to find out more about the Atlas, and download it.

Atlas of Variation- Diagnostic Services


NHS Atlas of Variation 2.0




NHS Atlas of Variation 1.0





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Health Investment Packs


Click on the attached icon to access health investment slide packs for every PCT in England.  The packs provide a walkthrough of the expenditure, health outcomes and the drivers of spend for a specific programme. Commissioners are encouraged to undertake similar analysis for other programmes in order to help with health investment and disinvestment.  This link provides guides to help and the 'E-guides' section on this website provides more detailed guidance



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