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Tackling medicine waste: what you can do to help

Did you know medicines which have been taken out of a pharmacy or surgery cannot be reused, even if they are unopened?

Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group are encouraging patients to take active control when ordering repeat prescriptions and order only what they need. This will help combat medicine waste, which costs the local NHS approximately £1million each year. This money, if available, could be spent elsewhere in the healthcare system to provide other valuable services.

There are a number of practical actions patients can take to ensure that they are not ordering unwanted or unneeded prescriptions.

Patients are encouraged to:

  • Cancel repeat prescriptions for items which are no longer needed by contacting their pharmacy or GP.
  • Review what supplies they have at home before ordering repeat prescriptions, particularly medicines which are only used occasionally, such as painkillers.
  • Resist ordering their next supply of medicines immediately after picking up a prescription but instead wait until they have a seven to fourteen day supply remaining.
  • Review all prescriptions at the point of collection before leaving the pharmacy counter. Medicines returned at this point can be re-dispensed.
  • Let their pharmacist or GP know if they are receiving prescriptions they did not order.

Working collectively to combat unnecessary spending on unneeded or unwanted prescriptions provides a positive way that we can all help ensure that NHS funds are spent where they can have a positive impact for patients.

 

 

 

 

 

Last year a local pharmacy collected over £2,000 of unwanted medicine in just one week. This money could have been spent elsewhere within the NHS.

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