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General Pharmaceutical Services in England 2015/16 - 2021/22

Correction notice – Data for some advanced services were aggregated incorrectly resulting in inflated figures for this release

Read our correction notices page for full details.

Published 13 October 2022


Community pharmacies and appliance contractors are responsible for dispensing medications, appliances, and medical devices to NHS patients. They are not a direct part of the NHS but provide essential services on behalf of the NHS to the general public.

This publication aims to describe the essential and advanced services that community pharmacies and appliance contractors provide, along with some of their associated costs.

The General Pharmaceutical Services (GPhS) publication is a National Statistic release. National Statistics status means that GPhS meets the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality, and public value and complies with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

The designation of this publication as a National Statistic was confirmed in December 2021 following an assessment by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR).

You can read more about this confirmation and the assessment of these statistics on the OSR website.

Key findings

In England in 2021/22:

  • there were 11,500 active community pharmacies and 111 active appliance contractors, the lowest total since 2015/16
  • 308 new pharmacies opened and 418 closed

In community pharmacies and appliance contractors:

  • 1.05 billion prescription items were dispensed, a 2.65% increase from 2020/21
  • 1.00 billion prescription items were dispensed via the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)
  • EPS items were 95.3% of all items dispensed, an increase of 1.35 percentage points from 2020/21
  • the cost of drugs and appliances reimbursed totalled £9.05 billion, a 0.83% increase from 2020/21
  • 4.85 million seasonal influenza vaccines were administered, a 75.1% increase from 2.77 million in 2020/21

Resource list

General Pharmaceutical Services in England 2015/16 - 2021/22 Statistical Summary Narrative (HTML)

Supporting summary tables (Excel: 108KB)Background information and methodology note (ODT: 251KB)User engagement strategy (ODT: 228KB)Pre-release access list (ODT: 217KB)


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