A campaign aimed at reducing unnecessary medicine waste has been launched across Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire GPs and community pharmacies.
NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Hull CCG estimate that an incredible £2.8million is lost each year across the region through medicines waste alone.
The campaign, launched by both CCGs, encourages patients to only order what they need, return unwanted medicines to their pharmacy for safe disposal and not to stock-pile any medicines.
Paula South, Director of Quality & Governance/Lead Nurse, NHS East Riding of Yorkshire CCG said:
“Like the majority of CCGs up and down the country, we are under increasing pressure to improve productivity and make efficiency savings.
“We have already made changes to the way we prescribe medicine to reduce costs and regularly run campaigns encouraging people to buy medicines over the counter where possible. We are starting to see the benefits from these and in 2016; East Riding CCG saved an incredible £1.6m. However, with the help of the public we still need to do more.
“Repeat prescriptions that are ordered and collected, but not used are one of our biggest problems. We are asking for patients on repeat prescriptions to think about what they are ordering and only ask for what they need and are running out of, any of the medicines can be dispensed when needed at a later date.
“Once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be recycled, if your pharmacist does give somebody medicine they no longer require, they should give it back straight away, before leaving the chemist.
“Ideally, patients should book a regular medicine review with their local pharmacist or GP, to help manage their medicines in the best possible way for them.”
As well as the financial costs, another reason to not stock pile medicine is for safety purposes. Taking out of date medicine that has lost its effectiveness can cause complications, it is also a safety risk for children, friends and family who might take them.
Dr Dan Roper, Chair of NHS Hull CCG, added:
“Patients, GPs and pharmacists can make a huge difference by working together to manage medicines more effectively.
“The £2.8 million that could potentially be saved each year across Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire through better medicine management could instead be spent on an additional 74 district nurses, 132 drug treatment courses for breast cancer or a year’s support with a Dementia Advisor for 2,520 people diagnosed with early dementia.”
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