The Mental Health Minimum Dataset (MHMDS) is to start producing data collection and releases monthly, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has confirmed.

MHMDS, which is England’s largest mental health dataset, provides nationally consistent and comparable person-based information to a detailed local level about adult contacts with secondary mental health services. It includes records for at least 1.25 million patients in England each year and combines key information into a single patient record, which is crucial to effectively commissioning mental health services.

The move to monthly reporting is designed to help support effective commissioning, payment by results (PbR) and bring further parity between timely mental health and acute care information. The first monthly report is scheduled to be released in the summer.

HSCIC, which manages the dataset, will continue to provide support around the submission, and to undertake central processing and analysis of data.

This is one of several changes to how the MHMDS is being presented and developed, in response to a consultation that received more than 160 responses from commissioners, organisations and interested parties.

For instance, the annual Mental Health Bulletin, due for release in the Spring, is also expected to include:
• More analysis by provider type, such as by NHS and independent provider
• Data at Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) level in an underlying (machine readable) data file
• More population-based analysis, using the latest census figures.

HSCIC’s mental health team are also set to increase their work with suppliers through more events, workshops, user groups and general communications.

The consultation also pointed to a need for more sophisticated and clinically-meaningful analysis around PbR and clusters. HSCIC hopes to add more of such information to its reports and is working with the Department of Health on PbR outcome measures, including analysis by diagnosis and cluster.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the HSCIC, said: “Consultations are an incredibly important part of the information lifecycle. It is vital that any data we collect is relevant, timely and meets its full potential to benefit patient care.

“It is essential therefore that commissioners, along with other interested parties, have their say on what information can best support them in their role. The development of data should always endeavour to be based on a two-way conversation between those who produce information and those who need to use it.”