Consultation on changes to NHS Digital Prescribing and Medicines statistical outputs

Closes 18 May 2018

Opened 30 Mar 2018

Feedback expected 29 Jun 2018


NHS Digital produces around 300 statistical publications a year. These draw on survey data, administrative data, data from clinical systems and aggregate collections. To meet the specific needs of our users, they cover diverse areas including population health, NHS activity, social care, performance, outcomes, workforce and resources.

The NHS Digital Prescribing and Medicines team publish 8 series of National Statistics, Official Statistics and data releases each year. The Code of Practice for Official Statistics promotes the production and dissemination of official statistics that inform decision making and supports the continuous improvement of those statistics. The Code applies to all UK bodies that produce official statistics. Compliance with the Code is a statutory requirement on bodies that produce statistics that are designated as National Statistics.

The increased use of the Electronic Prescription Service and developments by the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) mean existing prescribing datasets are becoming richer with patient related information. Developments as part of Personal Health Care 2020 (PHC2020) will result in a mandated NHS central collection of secondary care medicines data that will become available by 2019. These new and enhanced datasets will expand the existing statistical publications and increase the usability of prescribing data.

However, we must better prioritise our current services while maintaining our statutory obligations to produce high quality products and services at a lower cost. It is inevitable given the scale of the challenge that we will have to do some things differently, stop some statistical work or scale back where products are not adding the maximum value for money.

Why We Are Consulting

We are proposing a series of changes to our existing Prescribing and Medicines data and statistical outputs which will help us to better prioritise resources while developing our statistical products to align with the NHS BSA and better meet the needs of our users. We are making the changes necessary to enable us to produce high quality official statistics suited to support a modern health and care system and help make better decisions.

The aim of this consultation is to seek views on the set of changes we hope to make in the near future and also to inform users of some medium to longer term plans for further improvements. All responses collected will be treated confidentially in line with the Data Protection act, personal details of respondents will not be associated with any published results of the survey or shared with anyone outside of NHS Digital.

When we consider the results, greater weight will be given to external users and to those who identify themselves or the organisation they are submitting on behalf of. The consultation should take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.

Give Us Your Views


  • All Areas


  • Anyone from any background


  • Data Releases