Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

The NHSBSA's responses to Freedom of Information requests. read more


Open Government Licence 3.0 (United Kingdom) [Open Data]



I am interested in understanding contraception prescriptions in England and any data you may hold.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I request the following information: The number of individuals of all ages who were prescribed contraceptives between 2019-2020 and 2021-2020 in community settings (GP surgeries and pharmacies) broken down by contraceptive method.

On 10 July 2023 you clarified the following:

In answer to your request for clarification —

• Regarding dates, I would like calendar year for the periods 2019–2020 and 2021–2022 (apologies for the previous typo)

• Yes, I do mean patients.

• Yes, chapters 0703 (contraceptive drugs) and and 2103 and 2104 (appliances/devices)

On 4 August 2023 you further clarified:

To confirm, I require financial year 2020-2021, 2021-2022.


A copy of the information is attached.

NHS Prescription Services process prescriptions for Pharmacy Contractors, Appliance Contractors, Dispensing Doctors, and Personal Administration with information then used to make payments to pharmacists and appliance contractors in England for prescriptions dispensed in primary care settings (other arrangements are in place for making payments to Dispensing Doctors and Personal Administration). This involves processing over 1 billion prescription items and payments totalling over £9 billion each year. The information gathered from this process is then used to provide information on costs and trends in prescribing in England and Wales to over 25,000 registered NHS and Department of Health and Social Care users.

Data Source: ePACT2 - Data in ePACT2 is sourced from the NHSBSA Data Warehouse and is derived from products prescribed on prescriptions and dispensed in the Community. The data captured from prescription processing is used to calculate reimbursement and remuneration. It includes items prescribed in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey / Alderney, Jersey, and Isle of Man which have been dispensed in the community in England. English prescribing that has been dispensed in Wales, Scotland, Guernsey / Alderney, Jersey, and Isle of Man is also included.

The Data excludes:

• Items not dispensed, disallowed and those returned to the contractor for further clarification.

• Prescriptions prescribed and dispensed in prisons, hospitals, and private prescriptions.

• Items prescribed but not presented for dispensing or not submitted to NHS Prescription Services by the dispenser.

Dataset - The data is limited to presentations prescribed in BNF sections 0703 Contraceptives and BNF section 2104 Contraceptive Devices

Time Period - Financial Years: 2020/2021 and 2021/2022

Organisation Data - The data is for prescribing in England regardless of where dispensed in the community.

BNF Presentation Code - The BNF Code is a 15 digit code in which the first seven digits are allocated according to the categories in the BNF and the last 8 digits represent the medicinal product, form, strength and the link to the generic equivalent product. NHS Prescription Services has created pseudo BNF chapters, which are not published, for items not included in BNF chapters 1 to 15. The majority of such items are dressings and appliances which NHS Prescription Services has classified into four pseudo BNF chapters (20 to 23).

Items - Items shows the number of times a product appears on a prescription form not the quantity prescribed.

Patient Identification - Where patient identifiable figures have been reported they are based on the information captured during the prescription processing activities. Please note, patient details cannot be captured from every prescription form and based on the criteria used for this analysis, patient information (nhs number) was only available for 98.66% of prescription items.

The unique patient count figures are based on a distinct count of NHS number as captured from the prescription image.

The figures for the number of identifiable patients should not be combined and reported at any other level than provided as this may result in the double-counting of patients. For example, a single patient could appear in the results for multiple presentations or both financial years.

Data Queries

If you have any queries regarding the data provided, or if you plan on publishing the data, please contact ensuring you quote the above reference. This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

If you plan on producing a press or broadcast story based upon the data please contact This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and is subject to NHSBSA copyright. This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence detailed at:

Should you wish to re-use the information you must include the following statement: “ePACT2, NHSBSA Copyright 2023” This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence:

Failure to do so is a breach of the terms of the licence.

Information you receive which is not subject to NHSBSA Copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the information originated.

Please obtain their permission before reproducing any third party (non NHSBSA Copyright) information.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Contact Information Governance
Version 1.0
State active
Last Updated September 18, 2023, 11:51 (UTC)
Created September 18, 2023, 11:50 (UTC)