1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2016/17 financial year, NHS Digital published 292 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.
2. Appliance contractors provide services to people who need appliances such as stoma and incontinence care aids, trusses, hosiery, surgical stockings and dressings. They range from small sole-trader businesses to larger companies. They do not supply drugs.
3. Activity shown is for the whole year and includes activity carried out by community pharmacy contractors and appliance contractors who may not have been on the list as at 31 March due to a merger or closure mid-year.
4. Data provided in this publication comes from the following sources: NHS Digital, NHS Prescription Services (a division of NHS Business Services Authority), NHS England and NHS Litigation Authority Family Health Services Appeal Unit. The data collected and published assists the Department of Health (DH) to monitor the community pharmacy market and assess the impact of the current regulatory framework, particularly in relation to patient access and choice to inform and develop policy.
5. Due to changes to policy and implementation of new policy, some services were not provided for the whole of the reporting period.
6. A multiple contractor is defined as consisting of six pharmacies or more.
7. A prescription item refers to each medicine prescribed on a prescription form. Each prescription form may include one or more prescription items; each item may attract one or more dispensing fee.
8. The vast majority of the prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacy and appliance contractors are written by general practitioners, although nurses, dentists, pharmacists, other non/medical prescribers, and hospital doctors also write prescriptions. This publication excludes prescriptions dispensed by General Practitioners in rural areas (known as dispensing doctors) to those patients who have difficulty accessing a community pharmacy service. Note that these are included in other Statistical Bulletins published by NHS Digital.
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