Today we launched NHS regional and STP dashboards on , which allow anyone to see NHS prescribing patterns across areas larger than CCGs. You can find these new dashboards under “Area and Practice Dashboards”.

What is an NHS STP or Region?

The NHS across England is now organised into Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and NHS England regions. There are 44 STPs made up of NHS organisations such as CCGs and hospital trusts, and local councils, who developed shared proposals to improve health and social care, whilst ensuring services are joined up across all of the organisations they incorporate. STPs are contained within the five NHS England regional teams; these teams support healthcare commissioning and delivery in their area by providing professional leadership on finance, nursing, medical, specialised commissioning, patients and information, human resources, organisational development, assurance and delivery.

Why have we developed NHS STP and Regional Dashboards ?

As always we develop our tools based on the needs of our users. We have been getting an increasing number of emails from people wanting to view prescribing patterns across an STP or region. Additionally we also managed to secure a small amount of funding from the NHS to support these developments.

How did we build it?

As always, we have made all our code, that we used in the development of the STP and regional dashboards, available for everyone for re-use on our GitHub.

One particularly challenging issue when we started developing the STP dashboards was that there were no codes identifying STPs and their member organisations. In the NHS, organisational coding is undertaken by the Organisational Data Service (ODS) in NHS Digital but a full 18 months after STPs were formed there were still no NHS ODS codes available.

ODS codes are important to us as we use them to assign and track NHS prescribing patterns across general practices to CCGs. Organisational codes are also important for a whole variety of other reasons in the NHS such as payment and contracting. In order to build the STP dashboards we considered building pseudo-organisational codes but as a small team with limited resources this would be a challenging and very difficult to maintain. After some searching we found that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) had created organisational codes for STPs in their own format which we have now implemented.

In the last fortnight the ODS in NHS Digital have released NHS ODS codes for STPs. We will implement these new codes soon for consistency and you can follow our progress here on GitHub. Excitingly NHS Digital has released an API for the Organisation Data Service which we hope will mean quicker dissemination of new NHS organisational groupings in the future and allow us to build more useful tools.

Tell us what you want!

This is the first iteration of our STP and Regional dashboards. At the DataLab we pride ourselves on developing our tools swiftly and iterating them based the needs of our users. We have some ideas for developments (for an example see GitHub but we need you to tell us what you would find useful. Please get in touch with suggestions for improvements or if you would like to be involved in user testing via feedback@openprescribing.net.