On 16th August 2021 we released a copy of our open letter to Sajid Javid, asking questions about community midazolam prescribing for certain periods last year.
We wish to make you aware of an amendment to some of the data presented in our letter. The amendment has come to light as a result of changes to the NHS business service called “English Prescribing Database” (EPD).
In our letter of 16th August, we included certain graphs. One came from a source called Open Prescribing. It was included as a visual regarding the items of Midazolam prescribed in April 2020, the details of which we had checked through the
EPD. That Database holds details of all prescriptions issued in the UK, for all medications.
In the Open Prescribing graph Midazolam prescribing, (BNF Code 1501041T0), for the periods July 2018 to August 2019, is shown at the level of around 150 items per month. We did not agree with this data given that we could find no prescribing data for Midazolam during this period held on the EPD. As such, when we compiled our own graphs from the data taken from the EPD, they showed no prescribing for this period. This particular difference in prescribing data was to be explored further with the government and relevant bodies, in due course.
To necessitate the completion of further graphs for our evidence bundle, we had cause to revisit the EPD last week. We now see that data has been added for Midazolam prescribing, (BNF code 1501041T0), for the period July 2018 to August 2019 (“the Missing Period”). For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to make clear that we could not find this data when we last accessed the EPD mid to late July, (when compiling our first letter).
The EPD has recently been updated. Indeed we are aware that whereas we could access data previously to 2004, we can now only do so back to 2014, and this has been the case for the last few weeks.
We accept that various updates to the EPD website may have corrupted data leading to the absence of the same for the Missing Period. However, it is troubling that a crucial Database such as this, had a flaw with the data held for so long.
Given the data for the Missing Period now existing on the EPD, we have updated our graphs to include the same, and amended our letter accordingly.
As a result of the new data now held, questions 36 (b) and (c) in our first letter are moot, given prescribing happened for the Missing Period. However, the remainder of the questions raised are still relevant. Our contention about the use of Midazolam, and the purpose of that use, has not changed, despite the prescribing data now held for the Missing Period.
The new updated letter and graphs can be accessed via The Bernicians website here