Pharmacy photo by Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash

Report shows lowest number of pharmacies since 2015/16

NHS Business Services Authority has published figures on community pharmacies and appliance contractors in England.

The General Pharmaceutical Services report provides information on community pharmacies and appliance contractors in England, the NHS services they provided and associated costs, between 2015/16 to 2021/23.

Key findings of the report show that in England in 2022/23:

  • there were 11,414 active community pharmacies and 111 active appliance contractors. This is the lowest number since 2015/16.
  • a total of 297 new pharmacies opened, while 388 pharmacies closed.
  • 1.08 billion prescription items were dispensed by community pharmacies. This is a 3.4% increase from 2021/22.
  • 11 million prescription items were dispensed by appliance contractors, a 2% increase from 2021/22.
  • 1.04 billion prescription items were dispensed via the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS). This is 96% of all items dispensed, a small increase from 2021/22.
  • the cost of drugs and appliances reimbursed totalled £9.7 billion, a 7.5% increase from 2021/22.

To read the full report visit:

Contact Information

Sahdia Hassen

Senior Media and Campaigns Officer

NHS Business Services Authority

Notes to editors

Included in the report is information on the:

  • number of community pharmacies owned by independent contractors and multiple contractors,
  • number of prescription items dispensed by community pharmacies and appliance contractors,
  • number of community pharmacies that opened and closed during 2015/16 to 2022/23,
  • number of NHS flu jabs carried out by community pharmacies, and the
  • number of advanced services carried out by community pharmacies.

Please note:

Prescription ‘items’ refer to individual drugs or inhalers etc. on a prescription form, however a ‘prescription form’ can include multiple medicines on it.

These statistics are based on the financial year and not on the calendar year as some other sources of data may be.