Skip to main content

National Prescribing Indicators 2020-2021

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 2020-2021, the National Prescribing Indicators: Supporting Safe and Optimised Prescribing focus 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 are 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
⇩ National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021: Supporting Safe and Optimised Prescribing 2,445KB (PDF)

Associated resources:

⇩ All Wales Medicines Strategy Group National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021 - Health Education Improvement Wales e-learning module (external link)
⇩ National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021: Supporting Information for Prescribers and Healthcare Professionals 341KB (PDF)
⇩ National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021 - Specifications 260KB (PDF)
⇩ National Prescribing Indicators 2020–2021 - Slide Set 2,920KB (PowerPoint)
⇩ Local Comparators 2020–2021 194KB (PDF)
22/01/21
National Prescribing Indicators 2020-2021: Quarterly reports

National Prescribing Indicators (NPIs) for 2020–2021 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.