An exploratory analysis of the use of antibiotics by demographic and area characteristics – an exemplar study using the Northern Ireland Enhanced Prescribing Database (EPD) – NILS Distinct Linkage Project.

The EPD is an integrated patient-centred electronic record of all drugs prescribed by General Practitioners in Northern Ireland.

Using the EPES database this project will analyse antibiotic prescribing patterns for the 12 months ending May 2010. It will examine variations in use of antibiotics by individual socio-demographic characteristics and area characteristics, to help to inform the management of antibiotics prescribing in Northern Ireland.

The project will involve linking anonymised versions of the EPES prescribing database and the NILS database (using an encrypted Health and Care Number as the key linking field) to create a combined research dataset containing no personal identifiable information.

Analysis of this combined dataset will inform government health policy-makers within the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the medico-pharmaceutical community on current antibiotic prescribing patterns and utilisation. In addition, this research will provide information for the Health and Social Care Business Services Organisation (HSC BSO), who manage the EPES, on the usefulness and robustness of this tool in informing public health and health research, and other interested Research Team on the feasibility and quality of linkage of the EPES and NILS databases.



Johnston, F and Rosato, M (2011) ‘Using the NILS to analyse socio-economic & demographic determinants of antibiotic prescribing patterns.’ – presented at the British Society of Population Studies Annual Conference, University of Leeds, 7 September 2011.

Johnston, F, Rosato, M and Moylan, K. (2011) ‘Socio-economic & demographic determinants of antibiotic prescribing patterns in NI – A Distinct Linkage Project using the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study & HSC BSO Enhanced Prescribing Database‘ – presented at the Public Health Agency (Health & Social Care Research & Development Division) Research Seminar, PHA Belfast, 17 June 2011.

NILS Research Brief 13: Demographic and socio-economic determinants of antibiotic consumption in Northern Ireland

Research Team: Fiona Johnston, Kim Moylan and Michael Rosato
Database: Distinct Linkage Project using NILS and EPES
Project Status: Complete
Organisation(s): NISRA, HSC-BSO and Queen’s University Belfast, Centre for Public Health