Wasted medication costs NHS £1.2m a year in North Somerset

PUBLISHED: 12:28 06 February 2017

Wasted medication costs the NHS £1.2million a year in North Somerset.

Wasted medication costs the NHS £1.2million a year in North Somerset.

Archant

Wasted medication costs the NHS £1.2million every year in North Somerset – enough money to fund 75,000 extra GP appointments.

"By thinking twice... you could help save the NHS millions of pounds each year."

Community pharmacist Jo Howells

Healthcare leaders in the district are urging people to reduce medication waste.

Repeat prescriptions which are no longer needed and people taking their medication incorrectly contribute to the hefty £1.2million annual spend on medication waste – with £70,000 spent each year on the disposal of unwanted medication alone.

North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group – which is responsible for planning healthcare in the district – has launched a campaign to reduce medicines waste.

One of the CCG’s clinical leads Dr Mike Jenkins – who is a practising GP – said: “We are asking people not to overstock and to check their cupboards and supplies, and only order items they need.

People are being asked to stop unwanted repeat prescriptions.People are being asked to stop unwanted repeat prescriptions.

“We want to encourage patients to talk to their doctor or pharmacist if they stop taking medicines, have any questions about their medication, or if they are receiving medicine they don’t take.”

Debbie Campbell, clinical lead for prescribing at the CCG said unused repeat prescriptions is one of the greatest causes of medicines waste and estimates show a staggering 38 per cent of medication prescribed for long-term conditions is not taken.

She added: “Ultimately we would like patients to take medicines as prescribed, however if you aren’t taking some of your medicines, we would rather you tell your GP or pharmacist than continue to order it.

“If we can reduce the amount of medicines waste, this money can be reinvested to benefit healthcare in North Somerset.”

The CCG says many people stop taking their medication because of side effects, because they think it might not be needed or because it does not fit in to their routine.

Pharmacists can help people to manage their prescriptions.

Community pharmacist Jo Howells said: “Once medicines have been dispensed and supplied to a patient, they cannot be reissued to another patient even if they are returned unopened.

“By thinking twice before ordering your prescriptions, checking your cupboards and requesting only what you need – you could help save the NHS millions of pounds every 
year.”

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