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British National Formulary

NICE provides access to the British National Formulary (BNF) and British National Formulary for Children (BNFC) in digital and print formats for prescribers working in the NHS in England. We also provide access to the Nurse Prescribers Formulary (NPF) in print format to community practitioner nurse prescribers in England.

A vision for an enhanced BNF from NICE: Public consultation

The BNF consultation has now closed. Thank you to those who submitted comments and attended the three workshops.

The results of the consultation will be used to develop a specification for an enhanced BNF, which be presented to the NICE Board in May. The specification will be used to inform future developments.

The consultation comments, and NICE's responses to them, will be published on the NICE website in July 2014.

Changes to BNF distribution to the NHS - December 2013

From September 2013 the print version of the BNF will be distributed by NICE annually instead of every 6 months.

Eligible NHS prescribers will now receive one updated edition, free of charge, every September; the next print copy will therefore be distributed in September 2014. The British National Formulary for children (BNFC) will continue to be distributed annually.

More and more clinicians are choosing to access the BNF in digital formats. Reducing the frequency of print distribution is allowing us to focus on ensuring that NHS staff have digital access to the latest high quality information to deliver the best possible patient care. NICE's BNF and BNFC apps and BNF and BNFC content on NICE Evidence are updated monthly, unlike the print version, making them the easiest way to keep up-to-date. The apps can be used conveniently without an internet connection.

Read more about accessing BNF and BNFC through NICE Evidence or the NICE Apps below.

BNF and BNFC access through a tablet or smartphone

NICE´s BNF and BNFC apps are free for health and social care professionals who work for or are contracted by the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales, and students who are studying on NHS-commissioned courses such as medicine or nursing. To access content you need an NHS Athens account.

BNF and BNFC content is updated monthly - making it the easiest way to keep up to date - and they can be used without an internet connection.

Download and print our poster to help promote the NICE BNF apps in your workplace or department

BNF and BNFC online

The BNF and BNFC are also available alongside other useful sources of medicines information provided by NICE, such as medicines evidence summaries and alert services. Unlike the books, the content is updated monthly. The content is openly accessible to anyone in the UK.

Distribution of the print BNF and BNFC

NICE is currently responsible for providing hard copies of the BNF and BNFC to the NHS and other organisations that provide NHS-commissioned care in England.

In acute NHS Trusts, the chief pharmacist is responsible for distributing copies of the books within their trust and ensuring eligible staff are able to access a copy.

Community-based prescribers are sent copies directly to their work address.

Distribution lists for BNF and BNFC are managed by a third-party data supplier.

If you are eligible to receive a print copy of the BNF or BNFC, refer to the table below to find out how to get hold of one.

Role BNF BNFC How to access a copy
Hospital-based doctors or pharmacists who have a paediatric or accident & emergency speciality x x Contact your Trust's chief pharmacist
Hospital-based doctors or pharmacists who do not have a paediatric or accident & emergency speciality x
Non-medical prescribers: independent and/or supplementary prescribers who hold a V200 or V300 qualification employed by an acute Trust x x
Non-medical prescribers: independent and/or supplementary prescribers who hold a V200 or V300 qualification employed by social enterprises, community interest companies or private companies who are commissioned to provide NHS services x x Contact BNF@binleys.com
Doctors employed by social enterprises, community interest companies or private companies who are commissioned to provide NHS services x
Doctors who have a paediatric or accident & emergency speciality employed by social enterprises, community interest companies or private companies who are commissioned to provide NHS services x x
General practitioners, community/retail pharmacists and prescribing advisors (Not including Pharmacy Technicians) x x
Students studying pharmacy or for a non-medical prescribing V200 or V300 qualification x x Contact your course leader

Distribution of the print NPF

NICE is currently responsible for providing hard copies of the NPF to community practitioner nurse prescribers who hold a V100 or V150 qualification, employed by the NHS and other organisations that provide NHS-commissioned care in England. The NPF is published every other year. The next edition will be published in November 2013.

In acute NHS Trusts, the chief pharmacist is responsible for distributing copies of the books within their trust and ensuring eligible staff are able to access a copy.

Community-based staff are sent copies directly to their work address. If you are eligible to receive print copies please contact BNF@Binleys.com.

This page was last updated: 02 April 2014

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Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.

Selected, reliable information for health and social care in one place

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.