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NHSBSA Medicines Data Provision Notice

Data Provision Notice for NHSBSA Medicines Data, supporting the Medicines Data programme to provide good quality data about all prescriptions dispensed or supplied in the community.


The Medicines Data programme has been commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide better data about medicines. The programme will provide good quality medicines data, crucial to the successful delivery of government commitments.

Through monthly collections the programme will establish a set of data about medicines dispensed or supplied, as held by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) to allow:

  1. Analysis and linking of this data to other data sets by NHS Digital to provide richer information and improve intelligence about medicines safety, effectiveness and outcomes. This includes the Medications Safety Dashboard, already developed for the Secretary of State.
  2. Data to be made available to a range of organisations for secondary uses such as to inform and support prescribing behaviour, decision making and research. This will include making the data available through the NHS Digital Data Access Request Service (DARS) and enhancing existing and developing new publications. Currently the NHSBSA cannot meet the growing number of requests for data and information.
  3.  Use for COVID-19 purposes, in response to the significant demand for medicines data to support pandemic research and planning.

Version 3.0

Version 3.0 of this Data Provision Notices supersedes Version 1.0  published in October 2019 and Version 2.0 published in May 2020.

This revised version makes the following changes:

  • additional information governance information to NHSBSA, stating the criteria where certain legally restricted and/or sensitive data must be excluded prior to transmission to NHS Digital
  • clarity on NHSBSA ongoing submissions, in particular their use of MESH mailboxes.


The data relates to medicines, which includes but is not limited to patient information, from the NHSBSA of all prescriptions issued by prescribers and dispensed or supplied in the community.

This includes:

  • prescriptions for medicines that are dispensed or supplied by community pharmacists, appliance contractors and dispensing doctors
  • prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors in England for medicines personally administered in England.

as well as:

  • prescriptions written in England and dispensed outside England
  • prescriptions written in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man but dispensed in England. 

Period of collection

This is a regular, monthly submission of new data from the NHS Business Services Authority to NHS Digital, with historic data from April 2015.

Read the Data Provision Notice and supporting specification

Last edited: 25 August 2020 10:21 am