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Secondary Uses Service (SUS)

The Secondary Uses Service (SUS) is the single, comprehensive repository for healthcare data in England which enables a range of reporting and analyses to support the NHS in the delivery of healthcare services.

SUS User Support and Guidance

For Support and Guidance, please refer to the following sections:

What is SUS?

When a patient or service user is treated or cared for, information is collected which supports their treatment. This information is also useful for many other purposes such as:

  • Healthcare planning
  • Commissioning services
  • Payment by Results
  • Improving public health
  • Developing national policy

SUS is a data warehouse containing this patient-level information.  Data can be 'clear' (patient identifiable), anonymised or pseudonymised as appropriate for the needs of the user. Commissioners and providers of NHS-funded care can use this data for 'secondary uses'.  Secondary uses are purposes other than direct (or 'primary') clinical care.

The SUS data repository is a secure environment that maintains patient confidentiality to national standards.

SUS can be accessed by:

  • any healthcare provider that submits patient data to SUS (NHS and independent sector)
  • organisations that commission data from SUS
  • organisations that check healthcare compliance and consistency with national standards (such as Area Teams)

SUS access is managed using a system called Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) which grants different access levels based on the requirements of the role.  For example, commissioners are only allowed to view pseudonymised data as confidential data is not required for contract reconciliation purposes.

Freely available aggregated data, containing details of all admissions to NHS hospitals in England are provided by the Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) service.

How do I apply for access to view SUS data?

SUS operates a strict information governance process to ensure data is protected from unauthorised access. Users can only view information relevant to the purposes applied for.

Step one: SUS users require an N3 connection (also known as the 'National Framework') to access the SPINE and SUS. NHS networks should automatically be configured with an N3 connection. Users outside of the NHS network requiring N3 will need to complete an 'expression of interest' form:

Step two: Approach your local registration authority for local advice on how to apply.  Access can be granted electronically but the process is managed by each local team. Registration authority contacts tend to be members of an IT department or an IG representative.

Step three: Local registration authority sponsor will assign correct access rights (business functions) to a user's smartcard.

How to I get access to SUS?

Independent sector healthcare provider:

Independent providers should fill in the independent sector registration from.

How do I apply for access to submit data to SUS?

To enable data submissions senders must follow these steps in the correct order:

Step one: Apply for a legitimate organisation code, if you do not already have one, from the Organisation Data Service (ODS)

Step two: To obtain a commissioning data set (CDS) interchange sender identity you should complete an EDI registration form

Step three: Submit a completed SR1 (SUS Sender Registration) form to the National Service Desk who will register your new organisation code(s) and log your contact details .

Step four: You should enlist an approved XML supplier to ensure that CDS data are in the correct XML format. The Data Sender Deployment Guide includes details of approved suppliers and how to work with them:

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