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Primary Care Mortality Database

What is the Primary Care Mortality Database?

The Primary Care Mortality Database (PCMD) holds mortality data as provided at the time of registration of the death along with additional GP details, geographical indexing and coroner details where applicable.

At present it holds data for 2006 to now which is based on the 2011 census structures. Monthly data is added by the second week of the following month. User access to the data is based on the Upper Tier Local Authority (LA) or Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) structures that they are responsible for.

The PCMD is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and is accessed securely using Open Exeter via an N3 connection.

A snapshot of the patient register is loaded at the start of each quarter and is available as the "GP practice Live List" download when access by CCG is requested.

Who is it for?

This data is for use by Public Health analysts in Local Authorities and analysts in NHS Organisations who require deaths data for statistical purposes.

This data can be supplied under:

a)  Section 42(4) of the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) as amended by section 287 of the Health and Social Care Act (2012); and

b)   Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

Even where access is granted, sharing of Patient Confidential Data obtained from PCMD, or the ONS files, cannot be passed to any other organisation, including the NHS, unless that organisation will also be using it for public health statistical purposes and has signed a Data Access Agreement for their organisation.

What data are available?

The PCMD contains monthly and annual extracts of individual record level data on deaths supplied directly by ONS and includes:

  • A single linked dataset including registered GP/practice, patient details e.g. age, causes of death, and NHS number.
  • Data that can be extracted by residence or GP practice registration.
  • The option to view by the CCG where the deceased was registered, or CCG area/ Upper Tier Local Authority where the person resided.
  • Quarterly counts of patients by GP practice aggregated by age and sex.

Legal Access

These data are supplied to Public Health in Local Authorities and NHS organisations for public health statistical purposes under: Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) and Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

There are also some important changes about the purpose for which this information can be used. The Act specifies that the births and deaths information can only be disclosed to health bodies and Local Authorities if either: it consists of statistics or is for the purpose of producing or analysing statistics; and is for the purpose of the performance of functions in relation to the health service.

In addition the legal access to personal confidential data has changed under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The HSCIC has issued some FAQs to assist in determining whether your organisation can access patient confidential data and these should be referred to prior to requesting access to PCMD.

The pdf icon PCMD factsheet [334kb] expands these descriptions.

How do I access the service?

You will be required to complete a Data Access Agreement for the organisation, a short declaration list and a Short Declaration of Use for each person accessing the data, note that when applying for access electronic signatures are acceptable. These forms are available below.

Send the completed documents to with "Data Access Births and Deaths" in the subject header. Please note that the registration can take several weeks to complete, we advise applying at least 6 weeks ahead of when access is required.

The required forms requesting access from 1st June 2015 to 31st May 2016 are embedded here along with a process document to aid completion:

These forms are in Word 2010 format and should be kept in that format when saved.

The forms should not be edited as they contain fields which are used in the automated application process. Changes to the fields will result in an error which will delay your application.

If you encounter any problems adding the scanned signatures to the forms then you can put the signatures in a separate document and send them alongside the forms.

Please report any problems with these forms to for investigation.

If you have any queries on how to complete the Data Access Agreement please contact us on 0300 303 578.

If you require any further information please contact putting "PCMD" as the subject.

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