GP Prescribing Data

The data covers prescriptions that are prescribed in Northern Ireland by GPs or Nurses (within a GP Practice), that are subsequently dispensed by a community pharmacist, dispensing doctor or appliance supplier and are finally submitted to the Business Services Organisation (BSO) for payment and have been paid.

Improvements have been made to BNF chapter classifications to ensure consistency between Northern Ireland and England. Previously over 99.5% of items prescribed and dispensed in Northern Ireland had the same BNF chapter classification as England. Of the 0.5% of items that originally differed in classification, around 99.6% referred to items previously counted as Appliances (Chapter 21) being reclassified into the Eye (Chapter 11), Ear, Nose and Oropharynx (Chapter 12) and Skin (Chapter 13) chapters. Caution should therefore be exercised when comparing figures prior to October 2021 for chapters 11, 12, 13 and 21.

Following the development of a new database, data for August 2021 onwards may show a change in quantity for some inhalers, sprays and solutions. Where quantities were previously listed as a device, this may now show the amount of doses dispensed.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Creation Date November 23, 2015, 14:37 (UTC)
Topic Category Health

The Business Services Organisation (BSO) is the provider of the data. GP practice level prescribing data is obtained from the BSO’s prescribing and dispensing information systems.

Frequency of Update Monthly
Contact Name Family Practitioner Service Information and Registration Unit
Contact Email
Additional Information

Further information on using the data can be found at:

After examining discrepancies relating to the BNF, developments have been made to GP Prescribing data following an improved extract from the English BSA.

Therefore, from September 2018 onwards, the data will show a more fully populated ‘BNF Code’ column. Some changes to BNF Chapter and Section will have occurred as part of this process.

Further General Practitioner statistics can be found on the Business Services Organisation website -

Note that: Practice Number information held in this data corresponds to GP Practice Numbers listed in the GP Practice List Sizes dataset (

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