Hospital Rx Data

The NHS now releases hospital usage data, which enables us to look at monthly data by Trust for all products used.

Summary of Data Available


From Autumn 2020 NHS Digital is publishing secondary care medicines data under the government Open Licence. The data provides processed pharmacy stock control data for all NHS Trusts in England (Acute, Teaching, Specialist, Mental Health and Community Trusts).  

This is a monthly dataset with data available, at molecule form and strength level, approximately 6 weeks after the end of the month. Back data has been made available from January 2019.  

The data has been launched with a single metric – the total quantity in the Virtual Medicinal Product Unit.  For the vast majority of pharmaceuticals this is equivalent to the quantity metric found in the primary care Rx data.

We now also have cash value data available, helping our clients understand how much products cost, as well as volume sales. Indicative cost data is used as NHS hospital pricing contracts are confidential as are NICE Patient Access Scheme prices. This new information on the indicative cost of medicines supplied is included within the SCMD dataset. 

Opposite is an extract with a look at biologic prescribing for the main Trusts in London. You will notice the lack of co-ordination at present.



The data is published with the normal Open Licence terms, and importantly is permitted for commercial use. The data currently includes 94.6% of hospital pharmacy issued medicines. It does not include medicines prescribed in secondary care which have been dispensed in the community, but these data are published separately.

Value data is expected to be provided soon. Early documentation implies that this is a limited time dataset, however the NHS has expressed a desire to use this for monitoring going forward so it is likely that it will be extended, especially if significant usage is demonstrated, as per previous datasets.



The data are freely available and can be downloaded directly from the NHS Digital website each month.

Alternatively, CSL can provide these data on a subscription basis. In return for a processing fee, CSL will provide the following added value to the data:

  • Monitoring for updates CSL will monitor the website and process the data extracts once new data is published.
  • Generation of manageable extracts CSL will produce manageable extracts of bespoke markets as defined by the customer. Each month’s raw data has around 1/3 million records. Processing the necessary subset enables third-party tools to access the data quickly and without the need for substantial navigation
  • Inclusion of product hierarchies Data is only provided at a granular level. CSL will provide the data grouped to molecule level and to markets as defined by the client
  • Data quality checks CSL will perform data quality checks on the data before extracts are created using our “SAIL” artificial intelligence technology. Data will be provided with a flag on any recent values outside of expected parameters.
  • May full refresh Following the May full refresh, CSL will publish quality metrics at a Trust level to help clients understand where data is reliable and where it is less reliable. A factored metric will then be provided going forward to estimate gaps in data and optionally model these into the monthly feeds.

Example for the novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) market

One-off extracts of data can also be provided, along with bespoke consultancy, for example:

  • Profiling of hospitals/departments with regards to early adoption of new medicines
  • Loyalty scoring to show the consistency or otherwise of an account
  • Providing insights on the spread of products used within an account



NHS Digital will be publishing data monthly, but 45% of the data sources from which the extract is based are subject to revision when a full year refresh is published in the May of each year (for the financial year just finished). Up to that point data is provisional. At the current time, two NHS Trusts are not providing data:  


CSL understands that these Trusts are also missing from other industry standard datasets.
Over 8,000 products are provided, but no structure is provided to group these. Structure files are available from TRUD, but these are subject to an additional usage licence from SNOMED, and as such cannot be used for commercial purposes.  

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