The Organisation Data Service (ODS) is provided by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). It is responsible for the publication of all organisation and practitioner codes and national policy and standards with regard to the majority of organisation codes, and encompasses the functionality and services previously provided by the National Administrative Codes Service (NACS).
These code standards form part of the NHS data standards. The HSCIC is also responsible for the day-to-day operation of the ODS and for its overall development.
Data for General Medical Practices, General Medical Practitioners, Prescribing Cost Centres and Dispensaries are supplied by the NHS Prescription Services and are used to facilitate their remit to remunerate dispensing contractors and provide the NHS with financial, prescribing and drug information. Users need to be aware of a number of characteristics of the data:
• The GP practices file contains all prescribing cost centres as opposed to solely GP practices. Those that offer Out of Hours services, operate as Walk-In Centres or are situated within a prison are identified with a type code in field 26
• GPs may have more than one identifier within the file – one for each practice they prescribe from. Note that the practice code is supplied in field 15 of the practitioner file.
• Some codes do not identify a real individual, but exist to track prescribing activity of GPs working temporarily; i.e. a ‘bucket’ code assigned to a practice, for ad-hoc use by locums.
Some key consequences include:
• The codes are not unique identifiers for GPs. They are more accurately described as identifying prescribing cost centres, and their relationship with a location (GP practice).
• The data does not provide an accurate depiction of the number of GPs practicing within the UK.
Further information relating to the contents and usage of each file can be found on the further information link, or from systems.hscic.gov.uk/data/ods.