Dispensing workload in England rockets 62 per cent over decade

Practice The annual number of prescription items dispensed in England increased 62 per cent between 2002 and 2012, so the average pharmacy now dispenses 41 per cent more prescription items than 10 years ago, NHS figures have shown.

The annual number of prescription items dispensed in England increased 62 per cent between 2002 and 2012, so the average pharmacist now dispenses 41 per cent more prescription items than 10 years ago, NHS figures have shown.


The country's 11,236 pharmacies dispensed 1 billion items last year, compared with 617 million across England's 9,748 pharmacies in 2002, according to data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) yesterday (July 30).


England's pharmacies dispensed 1 billion items last year, compared with 617 million in 2002

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The net ingredient cost (NIC) to the NHS shot up 25 per cent – £1.7 billion – over the decade to £8.5 billion in 2012. However, the decade has not seen an uninterrupted rise in costs, as 2012's figures showed a 3.2 per cent fall on 2011.

The average cost per dispensed item fell £2.58 (23 per cent) over the past 10 years, from £11.10 in 2002 to £8.52 in 2012.


The number of statins dispensed grew the most over the decade, with an increase of 266 per cent between 2002 and 2012. Simvastatin remained the most prescribed drug in 2012, with 42.6 million items dispensed last year.


The HSCIC said the growth in prescribing could have been influenced by a range of factors, including the growing proportion of elderly patients, who tend to have more items prescribed than younger patients, and an increased prevalence of long-term conditions including diabetes.


Targets to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks would explain the increase in dispensing of statins, The HSCIC said.


Although simvastatin was the most dispensed drug over the 10 years, its net ingredient cost fell by £195.9m. The costs of lansoprazole, amlodipine and omeprazole also fell.  


Changes in overall costs could have been influenced by patent expiries, including atorvastatin, which came off patent in May 2012, the HSCIC said. Stock shortages of generic medication have led to a greater use of more expensive branded drugs, it added.


 

Number of prescription items dispensed (millions)

2002 – 617

2003 – 649.7

2004 – 686.1

2005 – 720.3

2006 – 752

2007 – 796.3

2008 – 842.5

2009 – 886

2010 – 926.7

2011 – 961.5

2012 – 1,000.5  



How has your pharmacy coped with the increased number of prescriptions since 2002?

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9 Comments

Freelance Pharmacist, Academic pharmacist

Pharmacy should be added to the list of worst professions on the planet.

Dorothy Drury, Locum pharmacist

They are several pharmacy undergraduates changing to nursing, advantages a bursary and a strong professional body that looks after the nurses.

Hayley Johnson, Community pharmacist

How, precisely, pharmacists are supposed to deliver any new-fangled pharmacy services suggestions in a quality fashion, along with rising prescription figures, less staff, and less funds is beyond me.

Peter Short, Locum pharmacist

Now 1 billion items dispensed, if everyone paid 10p an item, could we scrap the current prescription charges????

Benjamin Leon D'Montigny, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

It does certainly feel like I do 62% more work these days.

Chad Harris, Community pharmacist

Yeah, loads more work, with less staff and less real wages!! and don't forget all the 'services' that didn't exist back then!
But still they scrabble to get into pharmacy school. 10 applicants per place or thereabouts!

My locum rate has also returned to where it was 10 yrs ago with some companies, so nice that some things stay the same!

Another Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Thats right! 62% is only half the story. All those extra scripts on top of MURs, NMS, EHC, minor ailments, MDS, extra CD legislation, responsible pharmacist, SOPs, clinical governance, pharmacy monitoring visits, waste audits.........

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

And this is a shock?

Dorothy Drury, Locum pharmacist

No shock to working pharmacists, might be to managers and leaders of this and that.

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