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GP Prescribing Datasets

hsciclogoIn a previous blog post I described the terms used in the GP Prescribing data. Here I will introduce you to the various datasets which are published in this series. They can all be found on the Health and Social Care Information Centre data catalogue page.

Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community, Statistics for England

Every year this bulletin gives a summary of prescriptions dispensed in the community by community pharmacists, appliance contractors and dispensing doctors in England for the previous 10 years. The first one that was made publicly accessible was prescriptions dispensed in the community , statistics for England 1994-2004 and since then every year there has been one that gives an overview of the previous 10 years.The latest bulletin is prescriptions dispensed in the community, statistics for England 2004-2014.

Each bulletin shows the changes within the most recent 10 years. It also includes the overall net ingredient cost of prescriptions, the leading BNF sections in terms of chemical name, number of items, item difference and NIC difference.

The specific source for these statistics is the Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) data. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) publishes the Prescription Cost Analysis National Statistic, based on PCA figures for the most recent year in April annually.

Clinical Commissioning Group Prescribing Data

Clinical Commissioning Groups are part of the NHS and are responsible for the services in their local area by finding out what services are needed and what is provided. The Clinical Commissioning Group prescribing data is released every quarter of the year,therefore there is clinical commissioning group data for January-March,April- june, July – September and October – December. It uses a (CSV) file to make it more accessible to the public.

The Clinical Commissioning Group data covers prescription data on the North of England,Midlands and East of England, London and South of England. Variations in number of items and NIC may be affected by the population in the different areas.

GP Practice Prescribing Presentation-level Data

The practice level data is the finest-grain presentation of the prescribing data. It is collected and presented every month for each year and has a large file size (over 1GB). It includes a list of all medications, dressings  and appliances that are prescribed and dispensed each month under their BNF code and BNF name. For all the medicine, dressings and appliances the data shows the total number of items prescribed and dispensed, the total net ingredient cost, the total actual cost and the total quantity. It also gives the code of each practice, period, strategic health authority and primary care trust. This data covers prescriptions written and dispensed in England and those dispensed outside of England.

NICE Technology Appraisals in the NHS in England, Innovation Scorecard – Experimental statistics

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) work  to reduce variation in the availability and quality of NHS treatments and care and so try to provide equal high quality care across the different area of England by giving advice on the use of medication and treatment by the NHS. This dataset is experimental and uses available data to show variations and trends across time and type of medication and location. It includes interactive maps and spreadsheets that allow users to pick the organisations and time periods they want to find trends for and therefore it also includes national level data medication use, area team level data for medicine use, CCG medicine use and trust level data for medication technology sales and purchases.

Hospital Prescribing

This data has been  presented every year since 2004, it compares cost of NICE appraised medicines for primary and secondary care trusts and every year the focus is on a different kind of medication for example in 2010 it was on ADHD, psychosis and anti –  tumour necrosis factor (TNF) medicines, in 2011 it was on medicines for HIV and AIDS and in 2012 it was focused on antibacterial drugs.

The report includes: the information sources, NIC, Coverage, Overall cost (nationally and strategic health authority level, medications appraised by NICE, specific therapeutic area, sources and definitions and drugs included in the Analyses. The last hospital prescribing dataset available on the Health and Social Care Information Centre data catalogue page was in 2012.

What’s next ?…

After reading about what each of the datasets were about, I decided that the GP Prescribing Presentation Level Dataset would be the best for me to use when trying to discover trends and patterns in GP Prescribing data. I now look forward to trying to find out what the most prescribed medication is for each BNF Chapter, whether there are seasonal variations for some items and maybe the differences in the amount of money the NHS is spending on proprietary drugs and generic drugs.

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