NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare – 2015

Public Health England (PHE), NHS England and NHS Right Care have launched the third and biggest NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare to help commissioners, service providers and health professionals deliver the best healthcare. Healthcare can vary in different ways: in its quality, safety, equity, outcomes, the money spent and the types of service used. Some variation is expected, often linked to levels of illness or patient-preference, but some is ‘unwarranted’ and cannot be explained by the same causes. Unwarranted variation could be due to limited professional knowledge or disparate organisational performance, for example.

The NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare 2015 identifies where opportunities to address ‘unwarranted’ variation exist – by revealing the possible over-use and under-use of different aspects of healthcare.

This is the ninth edition in the series of Atlases of Variation. This compendium Atlas is the largest yet, with 102 maps detailing widespread variation in the quality, cost, activity and health outcome of healthcare in the English NHS. Almost 25% of the indicators focus on children and young people services. The Atlas is a collaboration with NHS England, Public Health England and NHS Right Care.

This Atlas is available as a PDF download and as an online InstantAtlas interactive version. For the first time, a companion tool to the Atlas will be produced – the Opportunity Selector. This tool analyses and groups the maps by locality and includes extended interpretation to highlight where local commissioners may wish to focus their pathway improvement efforts. The Opportunity selector will be available at the end of September 2015. The Atlas tools should be used in combination with the Commissioning for Value insights packs for CCGs and the Spend and Outcome tool for CCGs.

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