The Medical Division of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) organizes and indexes general systems of records for medical research and administration. The main sources of records are the census, registrations of births and of deaths, hospital discharge records, registered cases of cancer and of congenital malformations, surveys by the Social Surveys Division, and samples of records in general practice. Results take the form of regularly published series of statistics and commentaries and of studies in depth, often by scientists in the National Health Service (NHS), and research institutions which are encouraged to use the systems for prospective and retrospective surveys. The surveys are facilitated by the central registry where a note of every death in the country is attached to the relevant record (and the causes of death are available). Recent developments include studies of records of general practitioners; the causes of deaths among immigrants in England and Wales; the fertility, migration, and mortality of a cohort of about 1 percent of the population. The publication policy of OPCS is described.
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