Minister Hamilton launches consultation on review of formula for allocating Primary Care resources

Date published: 16 March 2016


Changes are being proposed to the way Primary Care prescribing resources are allocated across Northern Ireland.


The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has announced a 12 week consultation on the findings of a Review of the Northern Ireland Weighted Capitation Formula for allocating Primary Care Prescribing Resources.

The Northern Ireland Weighted Capitation Formula is a statistical tool used by the Health and Social Care Board to inform how much money is allocated to Health and Social Care commissioners across Northern Ireland for Primary Care prescribing.

Launching the consultation, Simon Hamilton said: “It is good practice to review allocation formulae regularly to ensure that any formula is accurate, robust and reflective of current needs. A number of factors determine the amount of available funds allocated to areas including population size, age/ gender profiles, and if there are additional need related factors such as deprivation.”

The Minister continued: “For example since the previous review in 2010, the NI Census 2011 data had become available and so it was timely to utilise this new data. Enhanced electronic prescribing data also allows more robust modelling to be undertaken.”

Concluding the Minister said: “Extensive analytical work has been undertaken to develop updated components of the weighted capitation formula for allocating prescribing resources. This will ensure that monies are allocated on an as equitable basis as possible across all areas of Northern Ireland.”

The consultation is available on the DHSSPS website and will last 12 weeks from 16 March 2016 to 7 June 2016.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The consultation presents a number of recommendations on which views are being sought:
    • The weighted capitation formula should continue to be used to allocate prescribing resources to local commissioning groups and as an indicative tool in subsequently informing allocations to general practices.
    • The formula should use an accurate count of the population. A constrained registered population should be retained as the population base for setting Local Commissioning Groups’ allocations. General practice registered lists should be retained as the population base for setting general practice indicative allocations.
    • The proposed new age-gender weightings derived from 2013/14 dispensing data should be implemented. The proposed new care home adjustment should be incorporated within this age-gender weighting.
    • Specific therapeutic age-gender weightings should be adopted as the prescribing measure when analysing a particular drug, BNF chapter, section or paragraph.
    • The proposed new additional needs weighting should be implemented.
  2. The Minister’s current reform proposals could see some organisations referred to in the document ceasing to exist with other organisations assuming their responsibilities.

    Further information is available from:
    Project Support Analysis Branch
    Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
    Room 2, Annexe 2
    Castle Buildings
    BT4 3SQ
    Tel: (028) 90 522700

  3. Media queries to DHSSPS Information Office on 028 9052 0567, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @HealthServiceNI

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