FOI 29912



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 29912

Thank you for your request for information about the following:

In January this year you provided me with a response to a FoI question relating to the number of prescriptions issued for antidepressant medicine (BNF 4.3) and painkillers (BNF 4.7). This was a response provided under the reference number FOI 19161. I attach a copy for your reference.

Please could you provide me with a similar but updated response to this question but now in relation to prescription figures for 2021? Please could you break the figures up for the new ICBs so that I can compare the figures with the previous CCGs.

Your request was received on 29th November 2022 and has been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


Question 3

Fewer Than 5 Items Patients

I can confirm the NHSBSA holds the information required to answer this part of your request, however, please be aware that I have decided not to release these figures as the total number of patients falls below 5. 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.

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 or yourself 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.

Remaining Questions

A copy of the information is attached.

Time period

The time period covered is January 2021 to December 2021 reported in calendar years


Prescribing limited to England.

Limited to drugs prescribed in the BNF Sections 0403 - Antidepressant drugs and BNF Section 0407 - Analgesics Please note that the BNF section does not guarantee the clinical indication.

Results are limited to items that have been reimbursed by the NHS BSA, omitting any items flagged as "Not Dispensed (ND)", "Returned Back (RB)" or "Disallowed (DA)"

Patient Ages

Age Band is based on the age of the patient as captured during NHSBSA processing for reimbursement. Patients may appear in more than one age band if they have prescribing in more than one. The age cannot be captured from all prescription forms and these patients are recorded as in the age band "Unknown".


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

Net Ingredient cost (NIC)

Net Ingredient cost (NIC) is the basic price of a drug as stated in Part II Clause 8 of the Drug Tariff but please note that where a price concession for items listed in Part VIIIA of the Drug Tariff has been agreed between the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee the NIC will reflect the concession price rather than the Drug Tariff price.

Patient List Size

List Size for the year is calculated as the average of the 12 monthly list sizes. A list size for a SICBL is based on sum of the list sizes of the GP practices within that SICBL. Note that a zero list size implies that the particular CCG was closed for the time period, but there has been some prescribing claimed for by a pharmacy after the SICBL had closed.

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 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

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Last Updated December 29, 2022, 10:02 (UTC)
Created December 29, 2022, 09:53 (UTC)