§ Ms Blears
National health service organisations collect a wide range of data that are used locally within and between health care organisations to support a variety of purposes. Local arrangements therefore exist within health communities to performance manage the quality of data collected that reflect local circumstances.
All NHS organisations are responsible for the quality of their own data. A fundamental principle of data quality is that data should be right first time, at the point at which they are recorded. In relation to hospital data, this principle was supported by the recent Audit Commission report, "Data Remember", which stated thatthe key to better quality of information is held by Trusts themselves".All NHS trusts are expected to have a named senior manager responsible for data quality within their organisations by 30 June 2002. All chief executives will shortly be reminded of their responsibilities for ensuring that their organisation produces good quality data.
While the ultimate responsibility for data quality lies with NHS organisations themselves, there are a number of national initiatives which aim to support them in improving the quality of their non-clinical data. These include national performance monitoring of data quality, providing support and guidance material on improving 243W and managing data quality, accreditation and audit of data quality and through the implementation of national information strategies.