Health & Community Care: data linkage

Data Linkage projects related to health & community care within the Scottish Government.

This document is part of a collection


In order to improve and plan future social care, housing support and health services, we need to use information about these services, including some information about the people who utilise them.

The joining up of certain information from these services will enable planners, to develop an improved understanding of the important interactions between social care, housing support and health services in people's care and support.

For example, it is important for us to understand for people who were admitted to hospital on several occasions in a short space of time, if they had any social care and/or housing support package in place. Furthermore, we need to understand if changes in support packages can prevent people being admitted to hospital.

The linking of health, social care and housing data aims to provide this improved information, in the form of statistics, whilst maintaining people's confidentiality and privacy.

Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Data Linkage Project


Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a significant health issue in Scotland. The shape of the problem is that around 3,000 people each year will have resuscitation attempted after a sudden cardiac arrest in the community, but only around 6% will survive to hospital discharge.

In response to this challenge, in 2015 Scotland launched a National Strategy for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. In an unprecedented collaboration, all of Scotland’s emergency services, Scottish Government, Third sector, NHS Scotland and Academic partners have come together to achieve together what would be too difficult to accomplish separately: to optimise the ‘chain of survival’ after OHCA. The aim is that Scotland becomes an international leader in OHCA resuscitation.

Data Linkage Project Overview

The Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Data Linkage Project was established to help inform and monitor the National Strategy on OHCA. The OHCA Data Linkage Project is supported by the Scottish Government’s Data Linkage Fund.

Linking ambulance data with other clinical datasets in Scotland allows patient outcomes to be measured alongside monitoring of system performance and the impact of service changes. The project will consider a number of factors as part of the analysis including, patient case-mix, geography, deprivation, healthcare delivery system (from initial 999-call through paramedic resuscitation, hospital care to return to the community). International comparisons show that foundational to all successful efforts to increase survival after OHCA is the collection of data to measure performance of the local system of care delivery.

Organisations Involved In The Project:

  • Scottish Government

  • University of Edinburgh

  • Scottish Ambulance Service

  • NHS National Services Scotland

Data Sources


Publication date Publication Title Link to publication
29th January 2019 Scottish Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Data Linkage Project: 2017/18 Results
13th March 2018

Scottish Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Data Linkage Project: 2015/16 – 2016/17 Results​
8th August 2016 Initial Results of the Scottish Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Data Linkage Project

Related OHCA publications: 

Publication date Publication title Link to publication
9th November 2017 The Scottish Approach: A case study of the Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy
24th November 2016 Out-Of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest – A Strategy for Scotland Review 2015-16
3rd February 2016 Exploring the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour of the general public to responding to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
27th March 2015 Out-Of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Strategy for Scotland


Data linkage diagram: data sources
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest data linkage: draft PIA
Data linking paper - Literature review
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