Introduction and Contextual Overview

The Department of Health uses the information gathered from Central Returns to monitor service provision at a high level and to support trend analysis for health service activity and health needs assessment. In addition, the returns support the monitoring of progress in the achievement of overall objectives for the NHS and contribute towards the development of policy and the process of funding allocation.

Each Central Return contained within this publication has an image of the Central Return form itself and provides guidance on its content and completion. The guidance also describes how data items held in the NHS Data Dictionary are used to derive the information required for Central Returns. Physical definitions of data items, such as the code values, are included.

Important Notes
  1. Some of the Central Returns covered in this publication are under review. Changes arising from these reviews are not covered in this publication as they were not available in time for publishing. Users should therefore use this publication in conjunction with relevant change notifications as they are published. These were issued as Data Set Change Notices (DSCNs) at time of writing, but the Information Standards Board (ISB) may use a different notification system.

  2. Not all mandated Central Returns are contained within this publication. For those returns not yet covered, please consult the Notes for Completion provided with the form for detailed information requirements.