Home » Projects » Background, data collection and governance

Background, data collection and governance

Produced by:

The National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA) was developed after it was found that lung cancer patients in the UK had worse outcomes than comparable countries that spend a similar amount of money on healthcare. There was also considerable variation between UK healthcare organisations.

The NLCA began to collect data on patients with lung cancer in 2004, in order to review the quality of lung cancer care and to identify areas for improvement and reduce variation in practice. The NLCA produces annual reports that summarise the analysis of information collected on patient care. The reports highlight where lung cancer care is good, areas for improvement and make recommendations for clinical teams in England and Wales.

The NLCA strives to raise standards across all lung cancer clinical teams in order to improve treatment and outcomes for patients with lung cancer.

The NLCA is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality.

Improvement Partnership (HQIP) on behalf of NHS England and the Welsh government.

Data collection in England

In England, lung cancer clinical teams record patient and treatment information in their hospital computerised system and submit a subset of this information to the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) at Public Health England. This subset is known as the Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD).

Detailed guidance on which data must be submitted and when to complete submissions can be found on the COSD website. The data should be as complete and accurate as possible at the time of submission, with the majority of the data submitted for patients within 6 months of diagnosis.

The CancerStats portal (N3 connection required) is available to clinical teams to look up real-time reports on the quality of their COSD submissions. Within the portal there is a dedicated area showing NLCA benchmarked results for data completeness and local performance.

Contact details for the NCRAS regional liaison managers can be found on the COSD website. Alternatively, clinical teams can contact the COSD helpdesk for further information.

Requests for secondary use of data

The secondary use of published NLCA data is strongly encouraged, for the purpose of research and quality improvement in lung cancer care and outcomes for patients.

Access requests to unpublished NLCA data in the first instance should be directed to DataSharing@hqip.org.uk.

Data flows and analysis methodology

Further information on NLCA data items, methodology, data flows and information governance is available for download in the section below.

Who's involved


Contact the regional offices for further details: