Prescription rates for medicines and treatments provide one useful measure of the burden of illness and disease across the country. This note provides statistics on prescriptions by GP practices in England as a whole and local variation for individual drugs and treatments.Jump to full report >>
In 2014 an average of 18.4 items were prescribed in primary care for each patient registered with a GP practice in England. This amounts to a total of just over 1 billion items prescribed. The total list price of these items was £8.6 billion - around £152 per head, with an average cost per item of £8.20.
Prescription rates vary substantially across England. Four constituencies had prescription rates above 30 items per head (Louth & Horncastle; Easington; Clacton; Houghton & Sunderland South) while four had rates below 10 items per head (Hampstead & Kilburn; Kensington; Cities of London & Westminster; Holborn & St Pancras). The average cost of total prescriptions per head varied from £252 in Clacton to £87 in Cities of London & Westminster.
30% of all items prescribed were for the cardiovascular system, with the most common categories being drugs for high blood pressure/heart failure and statins. 18% of all prescriptions were for the central nervous system, encompassing painkillers and antidepressants amongst other treatments. In terms of net ingredient cost, the leading category was drugs used for diabetes, totalling £846m.
GP Prescriptions by BNF Section, England, 2014
Detailed analysis of variation between constituencies for each drug and treatment category, including charts and maps, is contained in this note. The data is aggregated from Presentation-Level GP Prescribing Data published by HSCIC.
Prescription rates provide only a partial picture of disease burden and cost across England, and should be considered in conjunction with other data – for example, disease prevalence statistics from the Quality and Outcomes Framework, or public health outcomes indicators.
Full data on prescription rates for parliamentary constituencies in England is provided in the downloadable tables below. These are provided in Excel and CSV formats. For a summary of the highest and lowest constituencies in each major BNF section, see Appendix A below or section 6 of the main document.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7161
Author: Carl Baker