A campaign aimed at reducing unnecessary waste has been running face to face in Norwich. Local health chiefs have estimated that more than £1m is lost each year in Norwich through medicine wastage.
The campaign, launched by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups for Norwich, West Norfolk, North Norfolk and South Norfolk has been taken to supermarket pharmacies across the county. The campaign calls upon people to:
- Only order what you need
- Return unwanted medicines to your pharmacy for safe disposal
- Take your medicines with you when you go to hospital
- Patients not believing the medicine is necessary
- Possible side effects
- Fitting taking or using medicines into daily routines
- Choosing between medicines if patients’ feel they are taking too many
- Cutting down or stopping medicines they have been taking for a long time
This picture shows Mrs Margaret Buckenham at Morrison’s Supermarket in Norwich who was just off to pick up a prescription, after speaking with a campaign representative.
During the face to face sessions at supermarket pharmacies, members of the public have been advised how to help the NHS make the best use of its resources.
Some said they didn’t realise that unwanted medicines had to be destroyed when returned to pharmacies – so it’s best not to take what you don’t need in the first place.
Others didn’t realise they could ask their pharmacist or GP for a review of their repeat prescriptions if they no longer need the medicines they’re given.
Ian Small, Deputy Head of Medicines Management for the CCGs said: “One of the biggest problems is repeat prescriptions which are ordered and collected by patients but then not used. Everything is automatically ordered by carers on behalf of patients, sometimes without reviewing the need.
“Unused medicines in the home may mean that patients are not getting the benefit they could from their prescriptions.
“With a few simple considerations, patients could help save the NHS millions each year.”
The £4.9m that could potentially be saved in Norfolk every year through better medicine management could be spent on:
- 192 more nurses OR
- 4,900 more drug treatment courses for Alzheimer’s OR
- 324 more drug treatment courses for breast cancer OR
- 1,322 more hip replacements OR
- 5.099 more cataract operations
Around half of the UK population do not take or use their medicines as prescribed. This can occur for a number of reasons, including:
Further information can be found on the national website www.medicinewaste.com