Wednesday, 15 June 2011

NHS prescribing data to be published?

Did you spot this proposal, buried in a document only briefly referred to, in this year's Budget speech?

There are plans to make prescribing data public - on a practice-by-practice level.

It's all there in clause 2.200 on page 98 of "The Plan for Growth". Depending on what exactly is released, this could have enormous implications. Imagine that were to be published:

  • levels and trends in generic vs. branded medicine prescribing
  • regional variations in treatment pathways
  • extent of combination therapy use
  • local policy on management of niche conditions
  • high-prescribing vs. low-prescribing practices

There are concerns over the proposal, not least because it may mean de facto identification of individual GPs and patients (e.g. if a practice only has one patient with a particularly rare condition).

One to keep an eye on...

The Author: John Coulthard is Senior Research Executive at Branding Science and leading our business intelligence initiative around the NHS reforms

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