FOI 25496



Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

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


Open Government Licence 2.0 (United Kingdom) [Open Data]

FOI 25496


Hi there, I hope this message finds you well. I would like to know the gender breakdown for the amount of men and women who have been prescribed Benzodiazepines by the NHS in the last five years. Let me know If you can please provide this.


A copy of the information is attached.

NHS Prescription Services processes prescriptions for pharmacy contractors, appliance contractors, dispensing doctors and personal administration. We 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).

We process over one billion prescription items and make 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 - The data source was the NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse.


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.

Time Period - January 2017 to December 2021

Organisation Data - Dispensing is limited to England only

Patient Gender - Patient gender is as captured during NHSBSA prescription processing. Only prescriptions with a recorded gender of male or female have been used in this data. Please note that a patient may appear in both the male and female categories if they have prescribing in each. In this request 95.68% of items within the described limitations had an identified gender of male or female.

Identified Patients - Patients have only been counted if their NHS number was captured during NHSBSA processing. The patient's NHS number or age may not be captured if, for example, it was not known at the time of writing the prescription, or it was hand-written on a paper prescription and the OCR scanners were unable to read it. In this request 95.94% of items within the described limitations had an identified NHS number.

Drugs - Drugs have been limited by BNF chemical Substance – for a full list please see the file titled “FOI25496_DRUGS csv”.

Within the data, E is being interpreted in Text as Scientific notation, for example 01E00 shown as 1.00E+00

You can fix this as follows:

If you open a new Excel then

  • go to Data – From Text

  • select the csv file you want

– leave format as delimited

– next

– comma

– next

– highlight the CCG column

  • change to text

  • highlight column with the odd formatting

– change to text

– finish,

correct if a small ‘import’ box pops up.

This should let you open it without the formatting issues.

Please note that this request and our response is published on our Freedom of Information disclosure log at:

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 2022” 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 June 28, 2022, 10:31 (UTC)
Created June 28, 2022, 10:28 (UTC)