Warning: Large file size (over 1GB).
Each monthly data set is large (over 4 million rows), but can be viewed in standard software such as Microsoft WordPad (save by right-clicking on the file name and selecting 'Save Target As', or equivalent on Mac OSX). It is then possible to select the required rows of data and copy and paste the information into another software application, such as a spreadsheet.
Alternatively add-ons to existing software, such as the Microsoft PowerPivot add-on for Excel, to handle larger data sets, can be used. 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.
What does the data cover?
General 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, 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 GP practices.
GP 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.