§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 15 September 2003]: Information on the number of prescriptions dispensed in the community in each of the last five years is shown in the table.
In June 2002, three pilot exercises commissioned by the Department of Health commenced to examine the electronic transmission of prescriptions (ETP). The pilots explained options for linking computerised general practitioner practices to local community pharmacies and the Prescription Pricing Authority using the NHSnet. The pilots, which formally closed at the end of June 2003, were independently evaluated and have helped to identify the benefits, risks and costs associated with ETP. These findings will be used to inform the development of a sustainable, national prescription service which is an integral part of the national health service information technology strategy.
Number of prescription items1, forms1, and average items per form of all drugs dispensed in the community in England, 1998–2002 Total items1 Forms1 Average items per form Number of prescription items and forms1.excluding dispensing doctors 1998 467.1 268 1.74 1999 481.9 270.9 1.78 2000 500.5 276.2 1.81 2001 533.1 290.4 1.84 2002 560.7 299.8 1.87
BASCD Survey of the dental caries experience of 5-year-old children (Mean number of decayed, missing or filled teeth Year of study 1985–861 1987–881 1989–901 1991–921 1993–941 United Kingdom — — — — 1.96 Great Britain — 1.88 1.80 1.86 1.92 England and Wales — — — — — England — 1.73 1.62 1.66 1.74
Number of prescription items1, forms1, and average items per form of all drugs dispensed in the community in England, 1998–2002 Total items1 Forms1 Average items per form Number of prescription items and forms1.excluding dispensing doctors 2001 597.4 319.3 1.87 2002 617 325.5 1.9
1. The data are based on all prescription items dispensed in the community in England, i.e. by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England.
2. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospital or private prescriptions.
3. Prior to 2001, items dispensed by dispensing doctors and personal administration prescriptions are excluded.
4. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item.
Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) data from the Prescription Pricing Authority
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
[holding answer 16 September 2003]: We have not issued guidance on the time limits for, or duration of, prescriptions. However, it is common practice nowadays for general practitioner prescriptions to be issued for one month or 28 days at a time.