NHS BSA aims to cut £1bn from prescribing costs

Representatives from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) explained to delegates at the Health Plus Care conference in London how to translate data into improving prescribing practices to make better use of medicines.

As the arms’ length body responsible for managing the NHS supply chain and processing £33bn of payments every year – including NHS prescribing spend – the BSA generates a huge amount of data that touches almost every part of the NHS.

Using their online data prescribing tool – Epact – the authority has developed their ‘Pacific’ programme to support CCGs and Trusts to analyse their prescribing data.

The authority uses a four-step process – identifying the topic; analysis of the data to identify trends, anomalies, outliers and savings opportunities; engaging with health care partners to understand the factors driving variations; and implementation support for new ways of working.

Prescribing has become increasingly complicated, making it difficult for clinicians to analyse which is most effective

Paul Davies, business lead at the organisation, said prescribing has become increasingly complicated, with a wide range of medicines and devices in multiple potential combinations making it difficult for clinicians to analyse which is most effective.

“Asthma treatment now has seventy different combinations of drugs and devices available and how patients are using the drug or device can make a huge difference to their health outcomes and the efficient use of prescribed medicines.”

The BSA has been set an ambitious saving target of £1bn to be reinvested in services and is looking to work with CCGs and STPs to support them in optimising their prescribing practice to improve outcomes for patients.