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Campaign to reduce NHS wastage launched

A campaign aimed at reducing an estimated £50m wasted on medicines has been launched by four Primary Care Trusts in Greater London

Four Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in Greater London have today, Monday November 29, launched a campaign aimed at reducing an estimated £50m wasted on medicines. Specifically, the campaign aims to raise awareness about correctly ordering repeat prescriptions and helping people get the best from their medicines.

Medicines on repeat prescriptions may be ordered and collected by patients but are sometimes not used. It is estimated that £90m worth of unused prescription medicines are retained in individuals' homes, across the UK, at any one time. On top of this, between 40 and 50 per cent of patients do not take or use their medicines as prescribed. 

A recent report from the Department of Health cited Medicine Usage Reviews as a potential way to reduce waste. At the beginning of the year, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued new guidelines to healthcare professionals on how to involve patients in making decisions about prescribed medicines and reduce the number of people not taking or using their medicines correctly.

The campaign will consist of radio advertising together with posters and leaflets that will be displayed in pharmacies and GP practices to raise awareness of medicine waste among both patients and carers. It will also encourage patients to have regular reviews of their medicines with their pharmacist or prescribing doctor to discuss any issues they may have with taking their medication. 

Nick Beavon, chief pharmacist of NHS Wandsworth, said: "Everyone involved in prescribing, dispensing or reviewing medicines needs to make sure that patients are involved in making decisions about their treatment and that more medicines are taken as recommended.

"Unwanted drugs in the home may mean that patients are not getting the benefit they could be from their medicines. It also represents a large amount of waste. We want patients on repeat prescriptions to think about what they are ordering and only ask for what they need and are running out of. Any other medicines can be dispensed when needed at a later date, as once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be recycled."

Patients with unused medicines at home are being urged to return them to a pharmacy for safe disposal.

Further information about the campaign may also be found at www.medicinewaste.com

29th November 2010

From: Healthcare

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