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Prescribing and Medicines

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NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland


Latest Publications

Published: 14 November 2017
Prescribing Statistics Monthly Prescribing Activity Data
Publication Summary Download pdf file [128kb]
Full Report n/a
Published: 10 October 2017
Prescribing Statistics - Medicines used in Mental Health
Publication Summary Download pdf file [160kb]
Full Report Download pdf file [1082kb]
Published: 10 October 2017
Prescribing Statistics Monthly Prescribing Activity Data (Experimental Statistics)
Publication Summary Download pdf file [128kb]
Full Report n/a
Get the data, click for Monthly Prescribing Open Data See the data, click for Prescribing Data Visualisations

ISD has held data on medicines prescribed within NHS Scotland for several decades. These data are generated as part of prescription processing for the payment of dispensing contractors by the Practitioner Services in NHS National Services Scotland (now part of Practitioner and Counter Fraud Services, P&CFS). We currently have data on over one billion prescriptions, which we make available to customers through routine reporting, bespoke analysis and online tools.

Our Guide to Prescribing Services Download PDF file [420kb] describes how we support key aspects of prescribing, catalogues the information that is available routinely and outlines the help we can offer.

Latest News

Prescribing Publication Consultation

ISD Prescribing intends to merge two of its key publications; the 'Prescribing & Medicines: Dispensing Reimbursement, Remuneration and Volume Report' and the 'Prescribing & Medicines: Prescription Cost Analysis Report'. Users and stakeholders of national prescribing data published in these reports were recently invited to submit their views on the proposed changes in a provided document during a consultation running from from 27th June 2017 until 25th July 2017. This input is currently being collated and reviewed and will be taken into account when collating the new publication which is scheduled for release on the 29th of August. The results of the consultation will also be published in due course.

Class of Preparation added to Open Data files (09/05/2017)

An additional field will be added to the February 2017 open data file on 9th May 2017 due to customer demand. The class of preparation variable has been added to the file which indicates if the drug was prescribed as generic ('G') or proprietary ('P'). This field is contained in the February 2017 Open Data file onwards.

Monthly Prescribing Activity Data

New official experimental statistics are being piloted with the initial release on Tuesday, 12th April 2016 and then monthly.

This publication includes two aspects - a summary statistics dashboard and a data extract.

Summary Statistics Dashboard
The Tableau based dashboard reports on cost and volume of prescriptions dispensed and paid in the community. Data is presented as a total at NHS Board level and does not drill down to individual drugs.

Prescribing Data Extract File
The data extract is presented as downloadable text (.csv) file. It contains details of items dispensed in the community at prescribing location code level for General Practice data and aggregated by NHS Board for other prescriber location types. Items are described at British National Formulary (BNF) item description level.

Supporting Documentation for prescribing data extract file

Publication of Prescribing Data - Practice level prescribing data

Glossary of Terms - Practice level prescribing data

Privacy Risk Assessment - Practice level prescribing data

Metadata file

Field names and descriptions

Contact for Monthly Prescribing Activity Data
For information about the monthly prescribing activity data, or prescribing information in general, please contact the Prescribing Team: e-mail

Prescribing Data Consultation

Prescribing Data Consultation Download PDF file [79kb]. Users and stakeholders of national prescribing data held by the Information Services Division were invited to submit their views on proposed changes to the way in which this information is made available. The consultation ran from mid September 2015 until the end of October 2015.

Prescribing Resources

Our prescribing team provide a national information and intelligence service for customers in NHS Boards, Government, Academia and Industry. Through our work we support improved health and ensure efficient and effective use of public money. On this website, you will find the following resources.

  • The Scottish Drug Tariff which covers aspects of reimbursement and remuneration of contractors providing pharmaceutical services to NHS Boards.
  • Stoma products and services.

We can also offer specialist analytical services to support individual customers with their specific information needs.

You can find out more about all our services by e-mailing:

© ISD Scotland 2010
Information Services Division,
NHS National Services Scotland,
Gyle Square,
1 South Gyle Crescent,
Edinburgh EH12 9EB,
Tel: 0131 275 7050  
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ISD is a division of NHS NSS
Working at the very heart of the health service, NSS delivers services critical to frontline patient care and in support of the efficient and effective operation of NHS Scotland. Visit the NSS Website for more information