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]


Thank you for your request for information about the following:

The Information I'd like is similar to a previously published request although I'd like additional information and in a slightly different format. The previous request was 01054 but this included deprivation scores which I do not need, I'd like a unique patient count for the BNF Paragraphs 060401, 060402, 060702, 070201,070302. Please could I have a unique patient count for columns BNFID, Gender, Age Band (and period?) ideally in one csv but if too big could split per calendar year 2018-2022 and 2023 ytd My ideal scenario would be the data shown monthly over this time period as a moving 12 month unique patient count but if that's not possible annual numbers would be ok. If you're able to provide an additional sheet 2022-2023 by ICB that would be amazing

You provided the following clarification on the additional sheet:

Could it please be Monthly When I say monthly, I’d like the 12 months prior, e.g. a moving 12 month unique patient count

Your clarified request was received on 18 October 2023 and has been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


Fewer Than 5 Patients – ICB Data

Please be aware that I have decided not to release the Unique Patient Count in the ICB data where the total number of patients falls below 5. This has been marked by an asterisk (*) in the cell. This is because the patients could be identified, when combined with other information that may be in the public domain or reasonably available.

This information falls under the exemption in section 40 subsections 2 and 3A (a) of the Freedom of Information Act.

This is because it would breach the first data protection principle as:

a) it is not fair to disclose patients personal details to the world and is likely to cause damage or distress.

b) these details are not of sufficient interest to the public to warrant an intrusion into the privacy of the patients.

Please click the below web link to see the exemption in full.

Breach of Patient confidentiality

Please note that the identification of patients is also a breach of the common law duty of confidence. A patient who has been identified could make a claim against the NHSBSA for the disclosure of the confidential information.

The information requested is therefore being withheld as it falls under the exemption in section 41(1) ‘Information provided in confidence’ of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please click the below web link to see the exemption in full.

Remaining Information

A copy of the information is attached.

Data Source: NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse

Time Period: January 2018 to August 2023 inclusive. Each data point reflects 12 months prescribing to that point. ICB data is shown for the period January 2022 to August 2023 as per the original request, while national data covers January 2018 to August 2023.

Contents: The data shows the total number of unique patients, by 10-year age band and gender, and at the organisational or geographic level shown, who have been prescribed one or more items from the following BNF paragraphs:

060702  Drugs affecting gonadotrophins
060401  Female sex hormones and their modulators
060402  Male sex hormones and antagonists
070201  Preparations for vaginal and vulval changes
070302  Progestogen-only contraceptives

The data provided is based on prescribing in England in any setting, where dispensed in the community. No restrictions have been placed on dispensing location.

Patient age bands have been derived from the age as captured on the prescription form.

Patient gender has been reported using the latest patient gender information held by the NHSBSA Information Services data warehouse at the time that the data was extracted. This uses information from either the most recent Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) message or from the last time that NHSBSA received data about the patient's gender from NHS Personal Demographics Service. Gender is either: Male, Female, Not Known (where no information is held) or Indeterminate (where information is held which does not confirm either Male or Female).

Redaction has been applied to cells where the patient count may reveal gender-sensitive prescribing (i.e., between 1 and 4 patients).

Patients who could not be identified by means of a valid NHS number on the prescription form have been excluded. In this analysis, 98.4% of all items can be associated with an identifiable patient.

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.


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.

NHSBSA Prescription Services process prescriptions and information is then used to make payments to pharmacists and appliance contractors (in England) for prescriptions dispensed in primary care settings. This involves processing approximately 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 users.

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: “NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse, 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

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Last Updated November 15, 2023, 14:13 (UTC)
Created November 15, 2023, 14:10 (UTC)