Controlled Data Service projects

We currently have six core users of our Controlled Data Service, including academics as well as professionals from local authorities. Through UBDC support, these projects are utilising data which were previously difficult to source and access.

Looked after children in Scotland

Lead: Dr. Denise Brown

Since 2000, the rate of children looked after (LA) has increased substantially in Scotland - in 2015 over 15,000 (1.5%) children in Scotland were LA compared to 11,300 (0.9%) in 2000 - but little is known about the health of looked after children. This research will compare the health of school-age LA children to that of other school-age children never LA between 2009/10 and 2015/2016. The research asks whether health, mortality and pregnancy rates among LA and not LA children differ and, if so, for which health-related measures are differences observed. Data for all school-aged children in Scotland (from ScotXed) will be linked to birth and death registrations (National Records of Scotland) and health records (SMR02, SMR01, SMR04; and Prescribing Information System from NHS National Services Scotland).

Renfrewshire Council social care data analysis

Leads: Prof. Nick Bailey, PhD student: David Henderson

The overall aim of the PhD research is to understand how social care received by people has an effect on their use of health services, such as visits to the doctor or to hospital. This project is a small part of that overall PhD project, where we aim to get information from Renfrewshire council on the social care they provide. We aim to understand if there are patterns in how social care is provided across age, gender, ethnic, and deprivation groups. We also want to understand how social care use changes over time within these groups.

Supporting independent living through the prediction and prevention of falls

Leads: John Sherry, Colin Birchenall, Glasgow City Council

Falls among the elderly are common and may have long term implications for both the individual by impacting on the extent of services that they require, or if they require to move into residential care. There is a considerable amount of information held on falls, but interventions are based on the maintenance of individual fitness and balance in the elderly, or through home and residential care assessments to avoid trip hazards.  This project proposes the introduction of another dimension – namely the public realm. Certain neighbourhoods within Glasgow have high concentrations of elderly citizens, this project seeks to combine the NHS data on falls outside the home and with Glasgow City Council data to learn whether falls in the elderly can be avoided through appropriate place-making, road and pavement maintenance, and winter gritting or autumn leaf clearing schedules.

Life Unleaded: Investigating the effects of public interventions to reduce air and water lead pollution on infants and children’s health

Lead: Dr Mirko Moro

Lead is a highly toxic metal that when released in the environment can have adverse effects on foetuses and children, their behavioural development, and can impact on infant mortality. In the past, much of Glasgow's water samples exceeded the currently accepted lead limit. Using the Scottish Morbidity Records (from ISD) and Death Registrations (from NRS) this project will study the impact of tap water lead exposure on birth outcomes and infant mortality following two separate programmes of water treatment that occurred in Glasgow in 1978 and 1989. Birth outcomes and infant mortality will be compared before and after the water treatment among the Loch Katrine water supply area in Glasgow (treatment group), and also to areas surrounding Glasgow city and Edinburgh (control groups). The research will contribute to the evidence of public health effects of lead exposure to cities and countries that are still experiencing high levels of water contamination or emissions.

Using linked data to understand the relationships between Multimorbidity and the use of Health and Social Care

Leads: Prof. Nick Bailey and David Henderson

As health and social care integration in Scotland progresses, the benefits of analysing individual-level data of service use are becoming increasingly important. This project aims to understand the relationship between multimorbidity (more than one long-term health condition) and health and social care use in Scotland by linking different types of administrative data together, namely; Prescribing Information System, Unscheduled Care Data Mart (from ISD), Death Registrations (from NRS) and the Social Care Survey (from Scottish Government) for those aged 65 and older. The research will describe the amounts and types of social care received by individuals and then assess the effect of social care use on health outcomes and the use of unscheduled care for those with multimorbidity. The work will assess the interactions between health and social care use and identify potential efficiencies in the use of scarce public resources.

Assessing the relationship between social capital and active travel in an urban environment

Lead: Dr Prachi Bhatnagar

Physical activity levels, including active travel, are chronically low in the UK, with low physical activity associated with a range of poor health outcomes. Using the integrated Multimedia City Project (iMCD) and Strava Metro data held by the UBDC, this research aims to understand the relative influence of social capital and the built environment on active travel. It will describe how active travel varies by gender, age, ethnicity, income group and by levels of social capital and analyse the characteristics of streets that are used for active travel, including traffic density, presence of cycle lanes and green space. Understanding how social and built environments combine to influence physical activity will contribute to deciding which types of interventions may be most fruitful in increasing physical activity.