Raw disease prevalence in Northern Ireland - 2021/22

Date published: 24 May 2022

The Department of Health today published Raw Disease Prevalence in Northern Ireland - 2021/22. Figures show the recorded prevalence of 15 conditions1, including asthma, hypertension, dementia, diabetes, and depression.

doh latest statistics

The prevalence data is collected from general practices in Northern Ireland and the publication presents disease register sizes and raw disease prevalence rates2; broken down to LCG, GP Federation and general practice level.

This robust dataset is made up of information voluntarily provided by all 319 general practices in Northern Ireland.3 It is collected through the QOF, which is primarily used to improve care for patients by rewarding practices for the quality of care they provide.4

The data source for QOF is the Payment Calculation and Analysis System (PCAS), a Northern Ireland IT system that supports the QOF payment process.

The 15 disease registers are grouped into categories, which are:

  • cardiovascular5
  • respiratory6
  • high dependency and other long term conditions7
  • mental health and neurology8
  • musculoskeletal9

Prevalence of some conditions is measured as a proportion of the total number of people registered at a surgery, whereas others are age-specific.10

This year’s publication has a new style report and data tables.

Read the report on the Department website.

An interactive dashboard has also been developed to accompany this statistical release; access on nisra.gov.uk.


Notes to editors: 

  1. There are a total of 22 individual domains within the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF); of which 15 can be used to calculate the prevalence of conditions within the population. 
  1. Raw prevalence rates take no account of differences between populations in terms of their age or gender profiles, or other factors that influence the prevalence of health conditions. Year-on-year changes in the size of disease registers are influenced by various factors including: changes in prevalence of the condition within the population; demographic changes, such as an ageing population; improvements in case finding by practices; and changes to the definition of the register.
  1. This is the seventeenth year of operation of the QOF.  Despite being a voluntary arrangement, all practices in Northern Ireland have participated in the QOF since its introduction in April 2004.
  1. Prevalence data are used within QOF to calculate points and payments within each of the clinical domain areas.  Points can only be awarded to a practice for a given clinical domain area if the practice can produce a register of patients with that disease or condition.  This year, the value of a point was £178.25.  This figure is adjusted up or down according to each practice’s prevalence for each disease or condition, relative to the estimated regional Northern Ireland prevalence for that disease or condition.  This figure is also subject to adjustment to account for factors specific to each surgery e.g. population demographics.
  1. The cardiovascular group contains information on:
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Heart failure due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  1. The respiratory group contains information on:
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  1. The high dependency and other long term conditions group contains information on:
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes mellitus
  1. The mental health and neurology group contains information on:
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  1. The musculoskeletal group contains information on:
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  1. Four of the disease registers have a specific age requirement, but for QOF payment purposes, prevalence is calculated using the full patient list (all ages).  These diseases and their age requirements are Diabetes Mellitus 17+; Depression 18+; Osteoporosis 50+ and Rheumatoid Arthritis 16+.  Within this publication, raw prevalence rates are calculated using both the full list and separately using the relevant age group.
  1. For statistical or data queries, please contact Information & Analysis Directorate at qofdataenquiries@health-ni.gov.uk
  1. For policy queries, please contact Primary Care Medical Services Branch, Primary Care Directorate on 02890 520241 or at gmsenquiries@health-ni.gov.uk
  1. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk.
  2. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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