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Medicines Wastage

WASTED medication is costing NHS NORTH EAST ESSEX £5 million a year. Locally this could help pay for:

  • 2000 more hip and knee replacements
  • 1400 more essential heart operations
  • 330 more treatment courses for breast cancer
  • 300 more community nurses
  • 5000 more treatment courses for Alzheimer’s.

In a bid to save money to pay for other vital services, GPs and pharmacies are working together with NHS North East Essex in a major campaign to tackle the problem.

One of the main concerns is medicines on repeat prescriptions, which are ordered and collected by

patients but are NOT needed because they have enough of the same medication already or have stopped using the drugs. These unwanted medicines are the target of this campaign which will help NHS North East Essex to save money and improve healthcare.

People with repeat prescriptions should only order what they need. Once medicines have been prescribed they cannot be recycled and have to be thrown away, whether they’ve been opened or not. Patients are also being encouraged to have a free regular medicine use review with their pharmacist or doctor to discuss any issues they may have with their medication.

Another focus of the campaign is to raise awareness of the dangers of having unused medicines lying around at home. This may be a significant danger, particularly if there are young children present.

Unused medication in the home may also mean that the patient is not getting the benefit they could be from their treatment.  If you have unused medication at home, please take it to your local pharmacy for safe disposal and have a chat with the pharmacist or your doctor about your medication and how it can benefit you by taking it appropriately.

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