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NHS Scotland National Safe Haven

NHS Scotland are the organisation responsible for the overall running of the Scottish National Health Service.  The Information Services Division (ISD) is part of NHS Scotland and collect, manage and centrally hold a wide variety of NHS Scotland health administrative data.  ISD is an essential support service to both NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, and aims to provide health information, statistics and IT services to ensure efficient and effective delivery of patient care.

ISD is part of the SHIP (ScottisH Informatics Programme), a Scotland wide research platform for the collation, management, dissemination and analysis of Electronic Patient Records.  As part of this role, ISD are responsible for the Electronic Data Research and Innovation Service (eDRIS) which provides a single point of contact for researchers to assist non patient identifiable data and patient identifiable data applications.  eDRIS can assist with study design, approvals and data access for patient identifiable research in a secure environment.

The physical safe haven is located at Gyle Square, Edinburgh and consists of two stand alone computer terminals.  Remote access is to a secure network or server where linked data is stored using a virtual private network.  Security tokens are issued to researchers to provide access.

Available datasets
ISD make available a wide variety of their administrative health datasets for research.  A catalogue of the most common ones are available from our main NHS Scotland section. The data can be used alone or linked to other datasets using the ISD’s Record Linkage Service.

Software availability 
The following software can be used at the ISD safe haven:

  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • Stata
  • R
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

Data access
All applications for access to patient identifiable data will need to be approved by the Privacy Advisory Committee and researchers must have undertaken approved training.  ISD research coordinators will be assigned to provide support to researchers and provide specialist help with linkage specification, analytical requirements, PAC form completion and accessing the safe havens.  Our main NHS Scotland section has more details about this.

Contact information
For further enquiries contact eDRIS by email at or telephone 0131 275 7333.

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