Publication of General Pharmaceutical Services for Northern Ireland, Annual Statistics 2021/22

Date published: 30 June 2022

The Health and Social Care’s Business Services Organisation (BSO) has today published its General Pharmaceutical Services for Northern Ireland, Annual Statistics 2021/22.

doh latest statistics

This National Statistics report contains information on prescription dispensing and payments in relation to community dispensing (i.e. dispensing by community pharmacies, dispensing doctors and appliance suppliers).

Information is provided at Northern Ireland level with further breakdowns at Local Government District (LGD) and Local Commissioning Group (LCG) level.

The publication is available on the BSO’s website at:

Key Points

Notes to editors: 

  1. This is the third year that General Pharmaceutical Services Statistics for Northern Ireland has been released as a standalone report. This information was previously included as part of the FPS compendium published in 2017/18 and 2018/19. The report was produced by the Health and Social Care’s Business Services Organisation (BSO) which was specified as an Official Statistics producer body under the Official Statistics Order (Northern Ireland) 2012. It provides the definitive source of figures on BSO FPS General Pharmaceutical Service activity and finalises the provisional quarterly figures which have been released over the course of 2021/22.
  2. The UK Statistics Authority designated these statistics as National Statistics on 11 May 2022. National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value. All official statistics should comply with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics. They are awarded National Statistics status following an assessment by the Authority’s regulatory arm. The Authority considers whether the statistics meet the highest standards of Code compliance, including the value they add to public decisions and debate. These statistics were considered as part of a wider assessment of the BSO Family Practitioner Services statistics.
  3. Family Practitioner Services (FPS) is responsible for annual payments to primary care contractors including GP Practices, Dentists, Opticians and Community Pharmacists on behalf of the former Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), now Strategic Planning and Performance Group (SPPG) within the Department of Health. In 2021/22 this figure was almost £950 million, and included additional support to contractors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. The data relate to BSO’s General Pharmaceutical Service payment and volumes reimbursed and have been sourced from administrative systems. It is important to note that, unless otherwise stated, figures relate to the year in which a payment was processed by BSO and this may not necessarily coincide with when prescription items were dispensed (i.e. some prescriptions from a previous year may be processed in the current year whilst, conversely, some prescriptions relating to the current year may not be processed until a later year).
  5. This publication extends the previous analysis of patient numbers receiving medication in three specified therapy groups - anti-depressants, diabetes medication and products, and opioid analgesics – to a breakdown by Multiple Deprivation Measure (MDM) quintile for the first time.
  6. Whilst a number of UK comparisons have been included in the report, there can be important differences in how services are delivered between countries that can impact on the figures. Further detail is provided in the report and the Background Quality Report available at:
  7. The report itself presents high level summary information, with all of the detailed data tables provided in the accompanying Excel appendices. The figures are prepared and released by independent NISRA statisticians working within BSO’s FPS Information Unit.
  8. Quarterly updates for 2022/23, for key report tables, will be released on a provisional basis on the FPS section of the BSO website:

These will be added to the historic quarterly series. The timetable for the release of the quarterly updates will also be published on the BSO website and all publications, both quarterly and annual, will be formally announced on the GOV.UK release calendar:

  1. Electronic copies of the bulletin and associated Excel tables are available free of charge from:
  2. National Statistics

This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics.  You can find further information about the Code of Practice at

 11. Further Information

For further information please contact:
Information Unit
Family Practitioner Services
Business Services Organisation
2 Franklin Street
Belfast BT2 8DQ


Share this page

Back to top