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Prescribing is the most common patient-level intervention in the NHS, and covers all sectors of health care, including:
- primary care
- public health
- community services
This is the second highest area of spending in the NHS, after staffing costs, with the overall medicines cost (at list price) in hospitals and the community in England reaching £17.4 billion during 2016/17. Most prescribed items are medicines. Dressings, appliances and equipment can also be prescribed.
The prescribing and medicines team extracts and analyses prescribing data to identify trends and variations, and to support national policy. We also release open data for analysis by other organisations.
The team works in collaboration with:
- NHS Business Services Authority
- NHS England
- Office for Life Sciences
- Department of Health and Social Care
- Public Health England
- NHS Improvement
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
Aggregate prescribing data is publicly available and is used by other organisations, who can visualise it in a user-friendly format. This allows individual GP practices and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to compare their prescribing patterns to other providers.