Connected Health Cities (CHC): Data linkage of urgent care data

Project contacts

Chief investigator: Professor Suzanne Mason
Tel: 0114 222 0694

Project manager: Maxine Kuczawski
Tel: 0114 222 2981

Data linkage programme manager: Anna Waterhouse
Tel: 0114 215 9138


There is increased demand on emergency departments (ED) across the UK. The services are becoming stretched and as a result waiting times are increasing and patient care is suffering. By linking together patient data from different hospitals and services across Yorkshire, researchers are able to build a more complete picture of how emergency and urgent care (UEC) services in the region function. This picture will help researchers understand the flow of patients through EUC services, to understand what the most common health issues are and to better plan community services in the future. The anonymous data can help scientists understand EUC services across an entire region and suggest improvements in a much more synchronised way.


The purpose of this project is to collate routine NHS data from a number of UEC service providers in Yorkshire and the Humber region from 2011-2017 including the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS), NHS111 and acute NHS trusts, in addition to other health service providers. The individual patient records will then be linked to form a large unique database. This rich data source will allow the EUC services to be viewed as a whole system, enabling demand on the system by patients to be analysed as well as the flow of patients through the system.


The patient identifiable data has been obtained from the UEC service providers and is currently being validated (checked and cleaned) prior to data linkage. It is expected this validation will continue until March 2019.

Following data linkage and validation of the data linkage process, patient identifiers will be deleted from the linked database and a unique identifier assigned to each record.

The project team are also working with a number of stakeholders to develop further research questions that may be answered using the UEC database, these include:-

  • University of York
  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Bradford Institute for Health Research

In October 2018, the project team gained approval from the Health Research Authority Ethics Committee (18/YH/0234) and Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG/18/0126) to change the classification of the project to a research database. This allows data to be supplied and used in research projects that will be conducted by researchers and research institutions focusing on urgent and emergency care outside of the project team within the UK. Researchers will need to go through an application process to obtain data and if successful, will only be supplied with data that does not contain patient identifiers. Strict processes are in place to ensure all project data released is governed correctly and will be used for research purposes only.

Information about the CHC project data processing, application process, fees and data governance will be available on this web page when this application process opens in 2019.


The project is managed by the University of Sheffield, and is funded by Connected Yorkshire – part of the Connected Health Cities (CHC) programme. CHC is a new project that unites local health data and advanced technology to improve health services for patients in Northern England.

Funding has been extended and the expected end date of the project is end of December 2019.