The service improvements in sexual health across Scotland that this collection discusses have required the underpinnings of timely, accessible and accurate information to inform and facilitate activity and to monitor its outcomes. This chapter contributes to the section in this collection on the delivery infrastructure. It sets out the role of national data and information services in recording and reporting sexual health activity across the Scottish health care system, as aligned to the targets set out in the NHS QIS Standards, which the last chapter covered. The need for excellent intelligence to inform both national and local planning, and to better understand sexual ill-health and inequalities across Scotland, is clearly conveyed and demonstrated in this chapter written by two of the central players - Dr Jim Chalmers and Felicity Naughton - in the formulation and delivery of the national sexual health information system that is part of the central support system for the NHS in Scotland.
The chapter gives an insight into the various sources of national sexual health data, including clinical reporting from services across Scotland, public surveys and qualitative material, and of the uses to which it can be employed – in a systematic way, through the Information Services Division information dissemination system, and in an ad-hoc way, in response to Government requests for example. The authors ably demonstrate in this chapter the cohesive nature of the systems and the critical role that the intelligence generated has in sexual health improvement, informing policy-making and the employment of resources.