Bid to curb £1.3 million medicines waste

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Residents across Calderdale are being urged to help the NHS to tackle medicine waste.

Wasted medicines cost the NHS in Calderdale an estimated £1.3 million each year and NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants patients and carers to be aware of how they can help to reduce that amount.

If medicine isn’t taken as prescribed – to prevent or cure illness, or help with symptoms – health conditions can worsen.

Also, once prescribed medicines have been taken out of the pharmacy (chemist), they cannot be re-issued for anyone else. Recent CCG research across Calderdale shows just over half of patients surveyed thought unopened medicines may be returned to the pharmacy for use by other patients.

Dr Nigel Taylor, prescribing lead at the CCG, said: “GPs and community pharmacists regularly see stockpiles of medicines that patients have ordered and not used.

“When re-ordering repeat prescriptions, patients and carers should only request the medicines and products they are currently using. Because medicines can’t be re-used for other patients once they have left the pharmacy, we’re encouraging people to only order what they need.

“If patients have stopped taking their medicines it is important to let their GP know. Discussions about medication are an important part of the relationship between doctors and patients.”

From February, the campaign will run through a range of information materials in GP surgeries, pharmacies and care homes.