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BACKGROUND: The UK Health Security Agency have established a partnership with the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Clinical Informatics Digital Hub (ORCHID) to provide a new source of primary care data to enhance an existing GP in-hours syndromic surveillance system. AIM: To provide better coverage of the English population and more comprehensive information to inform public health action. METHOD: We produced indicators using SNOMED CT codes grouped into syndromes and validated the outputs against the existing GP in-hours data. A daily data feed from the ORCHID system at Oxford to the GP in-hours syndromic surveillance system was established for routine surveillance. RESULTS: Population coverage increased from 6.8 to 18.8 million patients, representative of the English population. More granular data are available at postcode district and lower layer super output level (LSOA), providing better geographical and sociodemographic coverage, and enabling the investigation of social inequalities on conditions diagnosed in primary care. New indicators can be implemented rapidly in response to new public health threats. CONCLUSION: For decades the RCGP has run sentinel surveillance with integrated virology and now RCGP data are being used for syndromic surveillance. The addition of ORCHID data to the GP in-hours syndromic surveillance system has improved the utility of the system. There is better population coverage, additional syndromic indicators, and greater ability to interrogate the data. The new system will provide enhanced information to support public health in England and highlights the value of GP records for use in protecting the health security of the nation.

Original publication




Journal article


The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners

Publication Date