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The British National Formulary (BNF) publication

Published on 12 July 2021

As directed by Scottish Government, Practitioner Services is responsible for ordering and distributing hard copies of British National Formulary (BNF) publications to all eligible NHSScotland prescribers.

This is on behalf of NHS Boards annually.

Our Data Protection notice tells you what personal information we use to provide this service, what our legal basis is for using it and how we protect it.

The British National Formulary (BNF)

British National Formulary (BNF) publications reflect current best practice as well as legal and professional guidelines relating to the uses of medicines.

The BNF is practical, evidence-based information for healthcare professionals who prescribe, dispense, and administer medicines.

Who is eligible to receive the publications?

Eligible recipients include:

  • hospital pharmacists (pharmacy technicians not eligible)
  • community pharmacists (pharmacy technicians not eligible) made available via Meds Complete package
  • hospital doctors (who are not GPs)
  • hospital locums
  • general practitioners (principal, assistants)
  • general practice locums
  • GP registrars
  • GP retainers
  • doctors and pharmacists holding honorary health board contracts
  • general practice pharmacological tutors GP retainers
  • MPAs and PPAs
  • nurse independent prescribers & prescribing AHPs only.

The BNF and The BNF for Children (BNF(c)) are also available electronically via Apps from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. See circulars PCA(P)(2019)9 and PCA (P)(2015)23) for more information.

Data Protection Notice

In order to provide eligible NHS prescribers with an annual hard copy of the BNF publications, Practitioner Services need to collect personal information - name and professional registration number only.

This is to validate eligible prescribers and for assurance of administering public funds appropriately.

This personal information is publicly available through a prescribers’ professional organisation’s website.

Practitioner Services is the business unit within NSS that provides services on behalf of health boards.

It supports general practitioners, community pharmacies and dispensing contractors, dentists and opticians delivering primary care across Scotland.

The legal condition for processing personal data under GDPR is Article 6(1)(e) - processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.

Function of the agency

Section 2(c) of the Functions of the Common Services Agency Order 2008 sets out the legal basis for NSS and in particular Practitioner Services to provide BNF services within NHS Scotland, as directed by Scottish Ministers:

“to provide such services relating to the exercise by Scottish Ministers, Health Boards or Special Health Boards of functions under section 36(1) or section 48 of the Act as they may require”.

If you want more information on our legal basis for collecting, storing and processing personal data, please refer to the NSS Practitioner Services Data Protection Notice.

This also gives information on how personal data is securely held and retained, our codes of conduct and privacy policies, your rights and what information is shared, with whom and why.