Healthcare: On the Agenda - Huge increase in prescription items

In a nutshell

The number of prescriptions dispensed to patients in England has increased by nearly 70 per cent during the past ten years, according to the NHS Information Centre. In 2010, nearly 927 million prescription items were dispensed, a 67.9 per cent rise on 2000.

Why is it important?

In the period between 2000 and 2010, the average number of prescription items handed out per head of the population rose from 11.2 to 17.8, while the average net ingredient cost per head rose from £113 to £169. However, the average net cost of the ingredients per prescription item fell during the ten-year period, from £9.99 to £9.64, according to Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community; England, Statistics for 2000 to 2010. NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: 'There was a net ingredient cost of £8.83bn to the NHS last year in England.'

PR strategy

The NHS Information Centre's in-house media team deals with all press handling. Conforming to the UK Stats Authority regulations, the organisation is not permitted to send information out under embargo, so a press release was sent out at 9.30am on 27 July, alongside a detailed fact sheet for specialist trade media.

Media coverage

The story was widely covered by the UK media on 27 and 28 July. The coverage highlights came on 28 July and included The Daily Telegraph (page 6), The Independent (page 2) the Daily Mail (page 7) and the London Metro (page 31).

927m - prescription items were dispensed during 2010 in England

17.8 - prescription items were dispensed per person on average during 2010.

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