Frequently asked questions

We have published answers to some of the questions we get asked most often under each of the categories below. Please get in touch if there is anything else you would like to know.

PrescQIPP and our work

What is PrescQIPP and what do you do?

We are an independent, not for profit social enterprise and our mission is to support quality prescribing in the NHS. 

We help to make sure that treatments prescribed to patients are safe, effective and good value for money.

We do this by providing information, guidance and support on prescribing to a large community of NHS professionals. We also help them to share their experiences and learn from one another.

What is a Community Interest Company?

A Community Interest Company (or C.I.C.) is a type of social enterprise. This is a type of business that operates for a specific social purpose rather than in order to generate a profit. PrescQIPP C.I.C. operates for the benefit of NHS patients, commissioners and organisations.

Some types of C.I.C. which are limited by shares can generate a profit with certain restrictions on the way that it is used. PrescQIPP C.I.C. is limited by guarantee. This means that we cannot generate any profit at all. Any surplus that is created must be reinvested back into the company for the benefit of NHS.

Why is PrescQIPP needed? What problems are you trying to address?

People who are responsible for buying and prescribing treatments in the NHS, must meet patient needs and manage costs within a constantly evolving landscape of clinical evidence, available treatments and drug prices. This can be very challenging.

We help primary care commissioners to manage their medicines budgets as effectively as possible. For example, we produce useful guidance on frequently prescribed and/or high cost treatments with details of evidence about them and suggestions for alternative treatments that could be discussed with patients. 

We also help our subscribers to address a range of prescribing challenges. These include:

  • Adherence and waste: People often do not take medicines as they are intended. A huge amount of dispensed medicines are unused or wasted.
  • Polypharmacy: Some patients are taking more medicines than are necessary. Sometimes these medicines interact with each other to prevent them working as effectively as they should, or cause further problems for patients.
  • Self care: Many patients who go to the doctors for common problems could be helped by community pharmacists. Purchasing medicines directly would very often make treatment quicker and easier.
  • Transfer of care: Confusion and errors with medication are more likely to occur when patients move from one care setting to another, such as leaving hospital to go back into a care home.

By highlighting good practice, innovation and sharing quality resources between NHS organisations working in many different areas of the UK, we also help to prevent duplication and maximise resources.

Is PrescQIPP just about saving money?

No. We are concerned with ensuring that medicines are safe and effective for patients.  

Improving patient outcomes and saving money often go hand in hand. For example, if a patient does not take a medicine that has been prescribed for them, they will not receive the intended health benefit. Money spent on that medicine will also be wasted. On the other hand, talking to a patient about things they could do themselves instead of taking medicines with very little evidence of clinical benefit, can give them more control of their health and save money.

After staffing costs, prescribing is the second highest area of expenditure in the NHS. More than £38m is spent on medicines every day. Yet every year between £100 million and £800 million worth of dispensed medicines are not used.

Savings that can be made on prescribing without compromising the quality of patient care will benefit everyone.

Are you able to help reduce the cost of treatments bought by the NHS?

No. We do not have, nor do we seek to have any influence over the cost of treatments set by the pharmaceutical industry or the amount that the NHS pays for them. Our work is limited to helping commissioners to work within the existing market to find best value for taxpayers and the best outcomes for patients.

Doesn't NICE produce guidance about which medicines are safe and effective?

Yes. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for producing national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. This includes guidance on safe and effective medicines. Many PrescQIPP resources compliment NICE guidance and help it to be implemented.

Why are you called PrescQIPP?

We aim to ensure that prescribing always includes consideration of Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention.

PrescQIPP was named when the programme began back in 2010 when QIPP was the strategy for improving efficiency in the NHS. Today, 'medicines optimisation' is the key strategy and aims to ensure that the right patients get the right choice of medicine, with appropriate information, at the right time in order to improve their outcomes. Although the name of PrescQIPP has not changed to reflect this we are committed to medicines optimisation principles. 

Who are your subscribers?

NHS organisations responsible for primary care commissioning such as Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Commissioning Support Units (CSUs). More than 80% of all CCGs subscribe to PrescQIPP and we also support the Welsh Health Boards, Health and Social Board of Northern Ireland and National Services Scotland. You can see a full list of our subscribers and a map showing the areas that they cover.

How are you funded?

The majority of our funding comes from the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) and Health Boards that pay us a subscription to access the full range of our resources. Through a democratic process, our subscribers tell us which resources they would like us to produce during the year.

Subscription income is ring-fenced for all work that is specifically for our subscribers. Our strategy and financial decision making is also overseen by our Council of Members, which is made up of senior-level subscribers from across the PrescQIPP community. 

We are also sometimes commissioned by other NHS organisations to deliver specific pieces of work. For example, we have previously been commissioned by the Eastern Academic Health Science Network and the NHS England East Anglia Area Team to deliver prescribing related projects. The funding for this project work is ring-fenced for specific outcomes as agreed with those organisations.

Why isn't subscription free to all NHS organisations?

Our work is not for profit. However, we do not receive any central funding from the NHS so we need to finance our work through subscriptions from the organisations we directly support. This model means that the work we do remains relevant and valuable to our subscribers. The more subscribers that we have, the more we are able to do at a lower cost.

We also make our bulletins and toolkits publicly available after a period of one year. This ensures that our work benefits as many people as possible while generating real value for the organisations that fund us.

How do you decide which resources should be produced?

Our annual work plan is democratically decided by our subscribers, who vote on a long list of projects, which is based on their priority areas and informed by national prescribing data. The work plan is then ratified by our Council of Members and it is the is responsibility of the Director of Medicines Optimisation to oversee the production of resources that match the agreed schedule. 

You can view our work plan here and see forthcoming resources on the horizon scan.

How do you assure the quality of your resources?

We follow a robust Quality Assurance (QA) process for all our resources that includes a quality peer review, strategic peer review, stakeholder consultation process and a UK Medincines Information level review prior to final sign off by our Chief Executive.

The QA process is regularly reviewed to ensure that it continues to be a robust framework. 

Do subscribers have to use your resources and implement your recommendations?

No. It is always up to individual subscribers to decide whether and to what extent they use the guidance and resources that we produce.

It is the responsibility of our subscribers to ensure that they adapt their chosen resources to meet the needs of their local populations. 

How are your governed?

The PrescQIPP Council of Members is our ultimate decision-making body. It includes our executive and non-executive directors, twelve senior-level subscribers from across the PrescQIPP community and some people with specific expertise relevant to the work that we do. The Council of Members takes all the major strategic decisions about the organisation, provides support to the directors and holds them accountable, and ensures that the company operates for the benefit of NHS patients and commissioners. 

The responsibility for running the company on a day to day basis lies with our chief executive, chief operating officer and director of medicines optimisation, who are supported when necessary by two non-executive directors. 

The rules about how the company operates including how members and directors interact, meetings are conducted, and decisions are taken is set out in our Articles of Association. 


Who can subscribe to PrescQIPP?

UK NHS primary care commissioning organisations. Our subscribers include Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Commissioning Support Units (CSUs), Health and Social Care Board of Northern Ireland, Welsh Local Health Boards and National Support Services Scotland.

Any NHS professional can register with us without subscribing to access many of the materials on our site. These include our bulletins, briefings, implementation tools and resources which we make available to non-subscribers one year after publication.

Use our online forms to register as a user of the site or sign up for our newsletter.

You can also see what our subscribers say about us.

What is the difference between a subscriber and a non-subscriber?


  • Shape everything that we do
  • Can access all of our resources
  • Help us to build an annual work plan based on their needs and priorities
  • Are represented on the Strategic Oversight Group that governs us
  • Participate in the peer review and quality assurance process for our resources
  • Are invited to our annual event and Innovation Awards

Subscribers vs non-subscribers

While we are subscriber led and funded, we want our work to benefit as much of the NHS community as possible. That's why we make our bulletins and tool kits available to any NHS professional one year after publication. Read more about the benefits of subscribing.

How much does it cost to subscribe?

For further information about our subscription fees and access for your commissioning area, please contact us.

How can we become a subscriber?

To become a subscriber please contact us and a member of the team will be in touch as soon as possible.

Can we trial your resources before subscribing?

Yes. We want you to understand the full value of our resources so that you can make an informed decision about subscribing. If you have not recently had a trial, we would be happy to arrange free access for you.

Please contact us to arrange your trial.

Working with us

What are the benefits of working with PrescQIPP?

The PrescQIPP community is widespread and influential spanning the UK and supporting the vast majority of the UK patient population, which equates to millions of people. Sharing your knowledge and expertise to ensure that prescribing professionals have access to the highest quality resources including the best patient information, can help to improve the lives of patients across the UK.

Do you work with the pharmaceutical industry?

PrescQIPP is entirely independent of the pharmaceutical industry. We do not receive core funding from drugs companies, and they have no representation in our governance structures. However, we recognise that the pharmaceutical industry is a significant part of the health system and aim to engage in a transparent and responsible way.

We consult pharmaceutical companies with other stakeholders as we develop our resources. We have also hosted a few secondments from the pharmaceutical industry to work with us on strategic projects that are not about specific drugs, such as transfer of care and reducing medicines waste.

Read more about how we work with the pharmaceutical industry.

We know that someone from another organisation would be interested in PrescQIPP’s work. How should they register?

Please do refer anyone who may be interested in our work to the relevant stakeholder page.

Can we suggest conditions, medicines, or topics for PrescQIPP to produce guidance on?

Our annual work plan is determined by the needs and priorities of the medicines teams who subscribe to our services. However, we always welcome suggestions of projects, topics and issues that would be directly relevant to and useful for our prescribing community.

Please contact us for more information.