Community Pharmacy - Contractor Activity

Public Health Scotland has released Community Pharmacy activity and direct pharmaceutical care services. This information release makes these data available in response to information requests for contractor data relating to specific Community Pharmacy services.

The date of the next release can be found on our list of forthcoming publications.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Source The data is extracted from the Prescribing Information System (PIS) database, jointly maintained by PHS and NSS. The data is gathered by Practitioner Services Division (PSD) who are responsible for the processing of payments to Scottish dispensing contractors on behalf of NHS Boards. Data Capture Validation and Pricing (DCVP) is the system used by PSD for this purpose, and a monthly feed takes place between DCVP and PIS.
Author Prescribing Team, Public Health Scotland
Version 1.0
Last Updated April 9, 2024, 09:30 (BST)
Created September 13, 2017, 12:26 (BST)
Contact Address Prescribing Team, Public Health Scotland, Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9EB
Subject NHS Pharmacy Services
Frequency Quarterly
Time frame of data and timeliness 2-3 months in arrears
Coverage General practices and community pharmacies within Scotland. The data does not cover private prescriptions. All practices in Scotland are included in this data where (in the relevant month) a prescription has been dispensed and claimed for payment by a dispensing contractor.
Completeness Information on 100% of NHS Scotland prescriptions dispensed within the community and claimed for payment by a pharmacy contractor (i.e. pharmacy, dispensing doctor or appliance supplier) is held on the Prescribing Information System. It does not include data on prescriptions dispensed but not claimed (likely to be very small) or prescriptions prescribed but not submitted for dispensing by a patient. Some research estimated these latter prescriptions to account for around 6% of all prescriptions issued to patients. It is not possible to determine from payment data how much of the medicine dispensed to patients is taken in accordance with dosage instructions.
Accuracy Routine monthly checks are carried out by Practitioner Services on a random sample of approximately 5% of prescription payments. These check all data captured for payment and the payment calculation accuracy with a target accuracy of 98%. Data that is captured but is not mandatory for payment purposes can be of lower quality; this includes the prescriber code linking a prescription back to individual prescribers and their organisation (e.g. NHS Board). Routine monitoring of unallocated prescriptions is carried out to apply correct codes to ensure unallocated prescriptions account for fewer than 2% of all prescriptions. For remaining unallocated prescriptions, the prescribing NHS Board is assumed to be the same as the dispensing NHS Board.
Continuity of data The definition of the main measures such as gross ingredient cost and number of items are unchanged over the period data has been available within PIS. Drug products are first licensed as proprietary medicines but generic versions often appear once the original patent expires. This can affect the price and uptake of these drugs. The Scottish Government sets the reimbursement price of generic drug products via the Scottish Drug Tariff which is updated and issued quarterly.
Concepts and definitions To calculate cost per item, divide the gross ingredient cost by number of paid items.
Disclosure No disclosure controls are applied.
Revision statement These data are not subject to planned major revisions. Data in this release was revised and updated on 8 December 2020. For data for January to June 2020 it was found that changes in payment processing meant that monthly cost data for the Chronic Medication Service was not fully reported. For example, for data for March 2020 the total Chronic Medication Service payment was reported as £489,617, the correct figure was £3,003,147. On average per Community Pharmacy the payment was reported as £390, the average figure for corrected data was £2,385. Note that the Final Payments measure is calculated separately and was not affected by this error, and the Chronic Medication Service payment represented 2.3% of the Final Payments to Community Pharmacies for March 2020. Please note also that for data for 2020, data on the Chronic Medication Service has been renamed to reflect the service being updated to the Medicines: Care and Review Service. Data column names for data on registrations, items and payments have been updated, please see the corresponding Data Dictionary. Data in this release for 2021 data has been updated to reflect the Pharmacy First Service and related PGD (Patient Group Direction) subservices. This replaced the Minor Ailments Service and data for 2021 is updated to reflect the provision of items through Pharmacy First, activity for consultations, dispensing activity and GP referrals and payments for provision of the service. Note that Pharmacy First does not require patient registration to the service. Fields previously provided that have been removed are: MASItems, MASRegistrations and MASCapitationPayment.
Official statistics designation Experimental/Published Management Information
Relevance and key uses of the statistics
Format csv
Language English

UK Government Open Data site

England HSCIC Publications

Welsh Publications

Northern Irish Health Publications,

PHS NHS Smoking Cessation Services (Scotland) publication

PHS Prescribing & Medicines: Minor Ailments Service (MAS) publication

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