Medicine waste campaign launches across Staffordshire

A new campaign aimed at saving the NHS millions of pounds across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is being launched this week.

The ‘Medicines Matter’ campaign launched by healthcare commissioners from the six Staffordshire and Stoke-on Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), will tackle the issue of unused prescription medicine which is estimated to waste around £6million each year across the county.

Local patients, pharmacists and GP practices are all being encouraged to play their part in reducing this waste. The public are being asked to pledge to do their bit by only ordering medicines that they need, checking pharmacy bags for unwanted items straightaway, before they leave the pharmacy and letting their doctor or pharmacist know if they don’t need any of the medicines they are receiving.

Samantha Buckingham, Medicines Optimisation Lead at Cannock Chase, Stafford & Surrounds and South East Staffordshire & Seisdon Peninsula CCGs, said: “The amount of money that goes to waste every year on medicines that are prescribed but do not get used always shocks people. Quite often, these medicines just end up in the back of the cupboard gathering dust.

“£6million could be put to better use if everyone takes responsibility to keep the level of waste down. We encourage local people, pharmacies and GP practices to follow the guidance so that we can re-invest this money in vital healthcare services for people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”

Eileen Cox, a patient representative for the CCGs, said: “Patients can support this important campaign by checking what medicines they need before ordering more, checking what is in their pharmacy bag and handing back any unwanted items and talking to their GP or pharmacy if they don’t need any of their medicines anymore.”

Along with patients, the CCGs are also asking pharmacies, GP practices and everyone who takes or orders medicines to play their part in making sure that NHS money is not wasted in this way.

Dr Mo Huda, Rugeley GP and Chair of Cannock Chase CCG said: “GPs in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent play a vital role in reducing medicine waste. The campaign encourages GPs to only adding medicine to a repeat prescription once a patient is stable on it, only use a 28 day repeat prescription with patients who need it and to regularly review patients repeat medication.”

Pharmacies will also play their part by checking what medicines a patient has before ordering any more.

Peter Prokopa, community pharmacist and Chief Officer of South Staffordshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: “As the headlines keep telling us, the NHS is under pressure and needs to find ways to save money. The Medicines Matter campaign is trying to help with this by reducing the amount of medicines that are given to patients but not used.

“Community pharmacy teams can offer advice and information about your medicines, so to take part in this important campaign, please talk to us next time you come in to collect your medicines. We can discuss any medicines that you no longer need, and together help to save the local NHS some of the £6m per year that is wasted on unused medicines.”

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