NHS Digital believe that there is no reason to suggest that the majority of the analyses have been adversely affected by the data quality issues raised below. The only exception is Enhanced Services (ES), under the 2013 regulations only NHS England can commission pharmaceutical services. Services can also be commissioned from community pharmacies by either a local authority or a CCG but these cannot be termed pharmaceutical services; they should be referred to as Locally Commissioned Services and these are excluded from the report.
Data from NHS England via PHS1 collection
NHS Digital collects specific pharmacy contract data from NHS England Regions via mandatory collection (R01044) as this data is not available from other sources. This collection is included on NHS Digital’s Burden and Advice Service’s (BAAS – formerly ROCR) list of assessed collections. All current collections that have no changes to them will be looked at as part of a three year review of collections and standards (this is a statutory responsibility of NHS Digital as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012).
NHS England Regions quality assure their data on submission and the data is validated by NHS Digital as part of the collection process.
Local providers and commissioners have informed NHS Digital that the ES data provided is an under reporting of the number of services actually commissioned. NHS Digital are working with colleagues across all sectors to improve data completeness.
Data from NHS Prescription Services
NHS Prescription Services process prescriptions dispensed in the community and returned to them for reimbursement. Prescriptions written in England, Wales, and Scotland and dispensed in England are included. This publication only includes those prescriptions dispensed by a community pharmacy or an appliance contractor.
NHS Prescription Services have internally audited their prescription processing accuracy to 99.7% over the period Jun 2018 – May 2019.
The Independent and Multiple community pharmacy contractor count is extracted from NHS Prescription Services contractor data. A multiple contractor is defined as a pharmacy contractor who owns six or more pharmacies across England. To validate this data prior to 2017/18, NHS Digital made assumptions to which contractors are multiples and independents based on owner names. 2018/19 data uses the independent/multiple counts as defined by NHS Prescription Services.
Data from NHS Resolution
England level data for the outcome of appeals is received from NHS Resolution as they make the decisions on the outcome of the appeals. It is a count of all the appeals made and so data quality is assumed to be 100%.