Using your new BNF

Over the last 18 months, we’ve been re-designing the structure of our data to create better products for users of BNF Publications. Autumn 2015 saw the release of some of these products.

MedicinesComplete has completed its beta testing and new designs are now being rolled out to all users. Versions of BNF and BNF for Children remain available on MedicinesComplete, renamed BNF Legacy and BNFC Legacy, alongside the new formats for an interim period. Content changes and enhanced functionality will be added to the BNF content on the NICE Evidence website this winter.

The new editions of the print BNF, BNF for Children, and the NPF were published in their new designs in September 2015.

New apps are also being developed and will be available in the autumn.

The documents below are intended to help you familiarise yourself with the changes, particularly to the print format, and we have shared some sample pages, alongside ‘How to use the BNF’ to help explain those changes. These will be updated as more information and resources become available.

The changes to BNF publications incorporate exciting changes to content and accessibility providing an improved set of products designed for use in today’s modern healthcare environment.


Sample pages from BNF

How to use the BNF

How to use the BNF: A CPPE interactive learning programme

Stickers for BNF70 and BNF for children 2015-2016

As you may be aware, the BNF have been working with NHS England (Patient Safety) and stakeholders including NICE and UKMI, to manage the response to the new format launched in BNF70 and BNF for Children (BNFC), in particular the identification of a small number of errors, some of which have been identified as potentially clinically serious.

There have been requests to disseminate a standardised version of this sticker to all users of the publications. Having taken feedback from a variety of stakeholders, and given the extensive nature of the changes to the BNFs in these latest editions, the Publishers of the BNF have made a standardised sticker available to users of both publications. Stickers have been distributed directly to recipients of the BNF Publications, following the same pathway used by NICE for distributing the September editions.

Images of the stickers are available to download below:

Sticker for BNF70

Sticker for BNF for children 2015-2016

And an accompanying letter can be downloaded below:


Please note that that the normal mechanism for notification of errors in the BNF is via the news page on this website, a process which has been in place for over a decade. Notification of any future errors will continue to be made in this way, with an enhanced communications cascade to ensure greater awareness of the process.


The BNF chapter numbering structure (sometimes referred to as the hierarchy) has been changed in BNF70 in order to facilitate the development of digital products and the print restructuring of content. We are aware that NHS organisations, especially hospitals, utilise the BNF’s chapter structure and have further developed it for a range of important uses which could be impacted by these changes, including, in particular, collecting and reporting data on medicines and other prescribable products. As well as local systems, this also affects NHS Business Services Authority’s prescriptions information systems and reports, the dm+d supplementary release file, and the publications and data releases by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

A steering group with representation from the BNF Publisher, DH, HSCIC, NHSBSA, NICE, Devolved Administrations, All England Chief Pharmacists Group and the Pharmaceutical Advisors Group has been established and will meet quarterly. The group will focus on development of an NHS owned information standard, which will eventually replace the legacy BNF chapter structure. Use of the standard will be mandated throughout the NHS to ensure consistency across all systems, although please note that this is a long term objective. The group will also focus on developing a strategy which will support the requirements of users throughout the NHS to make a smooth transition with minimal disruption. We will be consulting widely with users to help with this work.

We would like to reassure you that the BNF Publisher will continue to support the chapter structure featured in previous editions of the BNF through ‘BNF Legacy’, which is available on the platform whilst solutions are implemented.