FOI 27802



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 27802

Thank you for your request for information about the following:

‘1. Please could you tell me how many prescriptions were made in each of the following individual years (2012-2021) for Tamsulosin Hydrochloride (BNF 7.4.1), and what the cost was to the NHS for these prescriptions in each of those years.

  1. In addition could you provide me with a spreadsheet detailing the geographical spread of the prescribing of Tamsulosin Hydrochloride with the following columns:

i) The name of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) of ICB.

ii) The total number of male patients aged 18 or older registered at that CCG or ICB,

iii) The total number of unique patients at the CCG or ICB who were prescribed Tamsulosin Hydrochloride at some point during the 2021 calendar year,

iv) The total number of prescriptions for Tamsulosin Hydrochloride issued by that CCG or ICB in the 2021 calendar year. Note: As the administrative areas have changed recently from CCGs to ICBs I have given you the option of providing it to me in either format, whatever is the easiest and most appropriate for you. However, please ensure that the name of the CCG or ICB is included in the spreadsheet.’

Your request was received on 18 October 2022 and has been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


Question 1

2012 and 2013 Data

I am writing to advise you that following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you requested is not held by the NHS Business Services Authority. Prescription payment data is held as far back as January 2014.

However the data for 2012 and 2013 are available at the below web link:

2014 Onwards

Under Section 21 of the Act, we are not required to provide information in response to a request if it is already reasonably accessible to you. You can find the requested data, together with a guidance document at the below web link:

Question 2

A copy of the information is attached. Please read the below notes to ensure correct understanding of the data.

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, ok when the little import box pops up.

This should let you open it without the formatting issues.


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

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 2021 – December 2021 inclusive

Organisation Data

Only items that were dispensed in the community in England have been included in both parts of the request

The data provided for part 2 is for prescriptions prescribed in England within the SICBL structure, part 1 is not limited in this way


Limited to the following BNF Chemical substances; 0704010U0 - Tamsulosin hydrochloride


Data is limited to prescriptions where an NHS Number was captured during NHSBSA prescription processing within the dataset 99.41% of prescription items had an identified NHS number 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 SICBLs.

Note this restriction only applies to this field.

Data Quality for Patient ages

NHSBSA stores information on the age of the recipient of each prescription as it was read by computer from images of paper prescriptions or as attached to message sent through the electronic prescription system. The NHSBSA does not validate, verify or manually check the resulting information as part of the routine prescription processing. However an additional check is carried out on a yearly basis to check the capture rate and accuracy of the stored patient information. The results of this check for the most recent time period available (January 2020 to December 2020) show that for both paper and electronic prescriptions patient age was captured from 94.88% of prescription forms and the accuracy of age data captured was 99.95%.

There are some data quality issues with the ages of patients prescribed the products requested in this FOI. The NHSBSA holds prescription images for 18 months. A sample of the data was compared to the images of the paper prescription forms from which the data was generated where these images are still available. These checks revealed issues in the reliability of age data in particular the quality of the stored age data was poor for patients recorded as aged 2 years and under. When considering the accuracy of age data it is expected that a small number of prescriptions may be allocated against any given patient age incorrectly.


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

Average List Size

The list size for each SICBL for calendar year 2021 is calculated as an average across the monthly counts from GP Practices. This is restricted to Male patients aged 18 or over.

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 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
State active
Last Updated November 15, 2022, 16:15 (UTC)
Created November 15, 2022, 16:12 (UTC)