The Health and Social Care Information Centre has released the first set of retrospective GP practice-level prescribing data.

The centre has been releasing GP practice-level prescribing data every month since September last year, in line with the government’s open data agenda.

It is now making historical data covering the period June 2010 to August 2011 available. An HSCIC statement says this was done “following considerable interest from organisations looking to innovate and analyse the data over a longer time period.”

The new release covers the period June to September 2010, with data through to August 2011 due to be released over the next two months.

For each GP practice, the new data covers: prescribed and dispensed medicines dressings and appliances; the total number of prescription items prescribed and then dispensed; and the total net ingredient cost and the total actual cost of prescription items.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said a two way conversation between those who release data and those who use it is vital to ensure the “maximum potential of information is realised.”

“The first release of practice level prescribing data last December was an achievement in itself, in making a very substantial amount of granular data available for analysis in support of the government’s open data agenda,” he added.

“However, it is important to listen, securely develop and improve upon what we provide where possible, not only to continue the commitment to open data, but to ensure that our information evolves along with the changing needs of health and social care.”

The data can be accessed, along with background information and interpretation guidance, on the HSCIC website