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Mental Health Minimum Data Set

The Mental Health Minimum Data Set (MHMDS) contains record-level data about the care of adults and older people using secondary mental health services.


What is the Mental Health Minimum Data Set?

The MHMDS is an approved NHS Information Standard (external) that delivers information on people in contact with specialist secondary mental health services that is:

  • robust
  • comprehensive
  • nationally consistent
  • comparable

The MHMDS is unique in its coverage, because it covers not only services provided in hospitals, but also in outpatient clinics and in the community, where the majority of people in contact with these services are treated. It brings together key information from the mental health care pathway that has been captured on clinical systems as part of patient care. During processing, this information is compiled into a single patient record.

The MHMDS also carries data on mental health clusters, the currency for Payment by Results for mental health (external). 

Submission of MHMDS data is mandatory for NHS funded care, including independent sector providers. It is mandated for central submission by the Department of Health and has Review Of Central Returns (ROCR) approval ROCR/OR/0017/FT6/002MAND.

Organisations make regular MHMDS submissions to the Mental Health Bureau Service on Open Exeter.


How is the Mental Health Minimum Data Set used?

MHMDS supports a variety of secondary use functions such as:

  • commissioning
  • clinical audit
  • research
  • service planning
  • inspection and regulation
  • monitoring government policies and legislation
  • local and national performance management and benchmarking
  • national reporting and analysis

MHMDS statistics are for anyone wanting a comprehensive national picture of the use of specialist mental health services in England, including:

  • policy makers
  • commissioners
  • mental health service users
  • members of the public.

What is included in the data?

The HSCIC can provide extracts of MHMDS data to a pre-determined specification via our Data Linkage and Extract Service. Other than the options for sensitive or non-sensitive data, the content of all extracts is the same though the fields available may change depending on which data year you require.

For further information on what is included in the data, please review the specifications listed below:

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