Surrey Cohort

About us

The Surrey cohort is a repository holding computerised health data from 11 practices in Surrey, and links to pseudonymised patient data (data with personal details removed) for the Surrey population. 

Its purpose is to support a better understanding of our community’s health, research and quality improvement programmes. Once implemented, it should facilitate ethical data access, and facilitate research at the University of Surrey.

The research is out by the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the University of Surrey, in collaboration with:

Background and Rationale

The Surrey Health Partners CAGs bring together clinicians and academics with research ambitions.  The Surrey Cohort will support a better evaluated and more evidence-based local health care provision.

The health context is one of an ageing population and health service inflation (the rate of increase in health service costs) running ahead of what the economy can afford.  Communities and health systems will have to ever more carefully invest in evidence-based interventions and disinvest in those which are ineffective. Management is increasingly practiced through regulatory compliance with standards setting organisations such as:

  • National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
  • Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Participation in the Surrey Cohort should provide additional feedback about the quality of care delivered, and opportunities to improve quality.

Surrey cohort project aim 

The aim of the Surrey cohort project is to increase the quality and quantity of research output from Surrey Health Partners Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs); in particular recruitment to clinical trials and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio studies.


  • To conduct epidemiological research based on the data held within the Surrey Cohort database.  The data will be contribute to the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre database for monitoring of influenza and other diseases.  
  • To use the Surrey Cohort database to design studies. Anonymised data can be used to calculate sample size and power calculations, and help set realistic inclusion and exclusion criteria.
  • To recruit to trials and other studies. Eligible subjects will be identified within the database, then these subjects with the permission of the practice (if they decide to take part in the study) will re-identify the patients within the practice and send out letters of invitation. This will be carried out in close collaboration with the NIHR Comprehensive Research Network (CRN).
  • To be the vehicle for quality improvement initiatives (e.g. Predictive models to look at the risk of falls) in the community.

What is the design of the Surrey cohort?

11 practices in Surrey Health Partners area will be recruited by the end of May 2016. The anticipated data collection will be up to 6 weeks after practices agree to participate in the study. 

The method and governance utilises technologies developed by the University of Surrey for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) and Public Health England (PHE), using an approved provider, Apollo Medical Software Solutions Ltd. Apollo extracts data using the Apollo automated extraction system.  The system is compliant with best practices.  These arrangements may change from time-to-time and we will notify members if any changes occur.

Data extractions will be conducted in accordance with the Research Group’s standard operating procedures in data extraction, pseudonymisation, and transfer. All data are stored and managed by the University of Surrey. The information security policies and procedures of the Research Group have been approved by the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Details of the departmental information governance policies and procedures can be found here.

Joining the Surrey Cohort

GP practices interested in joining the Surrey Cohort are requested to contact our Practice Liaison Officer Ms Ivelina Yonova,