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National Prescribing Indicators 2021-2022

National prescribing indicators show how the different health boards in Wales prescribe certain medicines, and highlight any differences in prescribing patterns.

The World Health Organization defines rational prescribing as making sure that patients receive the right medicines for them, at the right doses and for the right length of time, and at the lowest cost to patients and their community.

National prescribing indicators are developed every year to promote rational prescribing of medicines in Wales.

The specific indicators chosen focus on medicines for which changes in prescribing patterns would support rational prescribing. The choice of indicators is evidence-based and the indicators are designed to be clear and easily understood by prescribers and healthcare professionals.

The indicators allow health boards, primary care clusters, GP practices and prescribers to compare their current prescribing practice against an agreed standard of quality.

For the previous year (2020-2021), the National Prescribing Indicators: Supporting Safe and Optimised Prescribing focused on three priority areas of prescribing:

  • Analgesics (including opioids, tramadol, and gabapentin and pregabalin)
  • Anticoagulants in atrial fibrillation
  • Antimicrobial stewardship (including total antibacterial items and the “4C antimicrobials” co-amoxiclav, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and clindamycin)

These three priority areas were supported by additional indicators:

  • Safety
    • Prescribing safety indicators
    • Proton pump inhibitors
    • Hypnotics and anxiolytics
    • Yellow Cards
  • Efficiency
    • Best value biological medicines
    • Insulin
    • Low value for prescribing
Due to the workload pressures across NHS Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPIs for 2020–2021 have been carried forward into 2021–2022. Therefore, the following supporting documentation is as it was provided for 2020–2021. However, the ‘Specifications’ document has been updated and includes refreshed threshold targets for 2021–2022.
⇩ National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021: Supporting Safe and Optimised Prescribing 2,445KB (PDF)

Associated resources:

⇩ National Prescribing Indicators 2021–2022 - Specifications 265KB (PDF)
⇩ National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021: Supporting Information for Prescribers and Healthcare Professionals 341KB (PDF)
⇩ All Wales Medicines Strategy Group National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021 - Health Education Improvement Wales e-learning module (external link)
⇩ National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021 - Slide Set 2,920KB (PowerPoint)
⇩ Local Comparators 2020–2021 194KB (PDF)
National Prescribing Indicators 2021-2022: Quarterly reports

National Prescribing Indicators (NPIs) for 2021–2022 include indicators for primary and secondary care, with a focus on three priority areas supported by additional safety and efficiency domains.

On a quarterly basis, a report is compiled analysing the performance of each health board against the current set of NPIs.

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