Let data drive your infrastructure strategy

As Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) look to develop their infrastructure strategies over the next few months, having the most reliable, up to date data is going to be critical.

SHAPE can help you right through the infrastructure planning process, starting with the ‘where are we now’ section.

This section describes the progress of your estate and infrastructure over the last five years, and outlines the opportunities and challenges you currently face. Factors to consider for this section include age, backlog maintenance, critical infrastructure risk, non-clinical space, utilisation, possible disposals and investment to date.

The NHS’s infrastructure strategy guidance emphasises that the information you provide should be supported by data analysis, so it’s vital that you use reliable, supported data from a source such as SHAPE, rather than trying to compile data from multiple individual spreadsheets held by your organisation which may be out of date.

There are a number of data sets available in SHAPE which ICBs can use to populate the ‘where are we now’ section. Here are a few that you may find useful:

ICS population data
SHAPE contains multiple demographic statistics about the population of your area, including the total population, and split down by age bands, density, ethnicity and Core20. Supplied by the Office of National Statistics, this information is ideal for the demographics section of your infrastructure report, and is available via the free version of SHAPE.

Regional health information
The free version of SHAPE contains information on QOF recorded prevalence, including for COPD and hypertension. Updated yearly, this can not only inform your demographics section, but can also help identify ICS-specific pressures and issues which affect your strategic decisions.
SHAPE also contains details from the community pharmacy blood pressure check service, including the number of patients seen and the number of checks, by type of check. Supplied by NHS England and updated monthly, this is a useful addition to your demographic section.

Partner organisations
SHAPE contains information from a range of organisations, which you use to demonstrate locations of existing infrastructure. Information is available across a number of sectors, including primary care, acute, community and mental health. The data, which is from NHS Digital, is updated monthly.

Workforce data
Guidance for ICS infrastructure strategies focuses heavily on the healthcare workforce, and how we need more people, working differently, to deliver patient care. An estate workforce plan should be included within the infrastructure strategy, identifying how the ICS has capacity and capability in place to deliver infrastructure requirements and ambitions. SHAPE contains information on the primary care workforce, including the number of GPs, nurses and direct patient care staff, which can help you develop an assessment of your current workforce profile and skills gap.

Operational and estate data
Information from the Primary Care Data Gathering Programme, delivered by Community Health Partnerships and Parallel on behalf of NHS England, is available in SHAPE. The area within SHAPE includes everything from property tenure and use, service type and workforce, to building size (floor area and number of rooms), building age, and backlog maintenance.

Future trends
A large part of your infrastructure strategy involves forecasting future changes to the area your ICS serves. As part of the Primary Care Data Gathering Programme, SHAPE can give you population growth forecasts, and contains information on new housing developments, which can support you in the planning segment of the ‘where are we now’ section of your report.

PCN strategies
Specific PCN strategies are vital to consider when taking a full ICS approach to infrastructure. You can access individual PCN strategies from the PCN web enabled toolkit, delivered by Community Health Partnerships and the SHAPE team on behalf of NHS England, helping you establish where they are now, and where they want to be.


All ICBs have free access to SHAPE Place and SHAPE Primary Care Data Gathering, and we run monthly training sessions on how to use the platform – sign up from your SHAPE home page or get in touch for more information on how to sign up.

It’s also possible to add your own datasets to a private, confidential workspace on SHAPE Local, allowing you to overlay your own data with the prepopulated national datasets to support scenario planning and ensure your infrastructure strategy is based on robust, reliable data.

If you want to know more about how SHAPE can help with your infrastructure strategy, please drop us a line at help@shapeatlas.net and we’ll have a chat.