Published: 25th February 2020 - The NHSBSA ‘One Drug Database’ project is underway to provide a consistent, single source of prescriptions information. The first release of new data was due in February 2020 (December 2019 data) on the NHSBSA website, however this has been delayed a month. As a result this is an additional and FINAL release of PLP data by NHS Digital.
This means that from March 2020 the PLP data will ONLY be available from the NHSBSA website.
There will also be differences in the way data is presented. You can read more about the project, and how this affects the NHSBSA systems and reports in the related link at the bottom of this web page.
Practice level prescribing data is a list of all medicines, dressings and appliances that are prescribed by all practices in England and dispensed in the community each month.
A zip file is available which users are able to download and extract all 3 files locally.
What does the data cover?
Practice prescribing data is a list of all medicines, dressings and appliances that are prescribed and dispensed each month. A record will only be produced when this has occurred and there is no record for a zero total.
For each practice in England, including GP practices, the following information is presented at presentation level for each medicine, dressing and appliance, (by presentation name):
- the total number of items prescribed and dispensed
- the total net ingredient cost
- the total actual cost
- the total quantity
The data covers NHS prescriptions written in England and dispensed in the community in the UK. Prescriptions written in England but dispensed outside England are included. The data includes prescriptions written by GPs and other non-medical prescribers (such as nurses and pharmacists) who are attached to practices.
Practices are identified only by their national code, so an additional data file - linked to the first by the practice code - provides further detail in relation to the practice.
Presentations are identified only by their BNF code, so an additional data file - linked to the first by the BNF code - provides the chemical name for that presentation.
Warning: Large file size (over 1GB).
Each monthly data set is large (over 10 million rows), but can be viewed using add-ons to existing software, such as the Microsoft PowerPivot add-on for Excel, to handle larger data sets. The Microsoft PowerPivot add-on for Excel is available using the link in the 'Related Links' section below.
Once PowerPivot has been installed, to load the large files, please follow the instructions below. Note that it may take at least 20 to 30 minutes to load one monthly file.
1. Start Excel as normal
2. Click on the PowerPivot tab
3. Click on the PowerPivot Window icon (top left)
4. In the PowerPivot Window, click on the "From Other Sources" icon
5. In the Table Import Wizard e.g. scroll to the bottom and select Text File
6. Browse to the file you want to open and choose the file extension you require e.g. CSV
Once the data has been imported you can view it in a spreadsheet.