Data rich, information poor?

The questions non-executive directors can ask of NHS acute hospitals
The King's Fund
Event type: 
Board Leadership Programme

About this event

Non-executive directors (NEDs) have a responsibility to question the performance of their trusts. But with so much data flying around, it is often hard to know what questions to ask and whether the data will provide the answers. A good starting point is to establish what the data can tell us.

The NHS Confederation, in association with CHKS, a leading provider of health care intelligence, has published four guides for NEDs that provide a basic introduction to the complexities of hospital data, how it is collected and the different types of patient pathway. Two guides in the series cover critical areas for NEDs: accident and emergency (A&E), quality, mortality and safety.

The guides help NEDs understand:

  • what questions can be asked of the data.
  • how comparison can be made with other trusts.
  • what assurances are needed to ensure good-quality data.

The four reports have now been combined into a single document, copies of which will be available to attendees or are available at the link above.

This workshop will equip NEDs from all backgrounds with a better understanding of the NHS acute hospital datasets and how they can be interpreted. This interactive session will give NEDs the opportunity to ask questions about hospital data with a focus on quality and activity, mortality, A&E and admissions.

Executive colleagues are welcome to attend this event. Please contact Tracy Nottage at to book your place.

The speaker

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson BSc, PhD, is Head of Marketing Intelligence for CHKS. He has been described as the person who understands the NHS in numbers. He has a detailed knowledge of data collection and analysis methods giving him a good understanding of health service data and how it can be best presented as meaningful information for the public. Current major topics of analysis include the reality of demand over the seven days of the week, linked to the sustainability of smaller hospitals and short-stay emergencies.

Paul keeps a close watch on health care policy developments to ensure the company stays at the forefront of information analysis and support.

He has written (and carried out the data analysis for) numerous articles for Health Service Journal, the Guardian and the Telegraph, appeared on the front page of the Times, and spoken on BBC Radio 4 and local radio. He was a member of the Department of Health Steering Group on Hospital Level Mortality Indicators.

He acted as the lead judge for the HSJ Acute Organisation of the Year for more than five years and has a wide range of knowledge about best practice and innovation.

Paul qualified as a clinical psychologist, and carried out his doctoral level research on managerial stress in industry. He worked for the NHS for more than 25 years and joined CHKS in 2005 from a large teaching acute trust in south-west England, where he was Director of Business Planning.