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Be a Calderdale ‘super patient’ in the fight against medicine waste

Medicines waste campaign 4 editCalderdale residents are invited to become ‘super patients’ by getting involved in an NHS initiative to tackle medicine waste.

Wasted medicines cost the NHS in Calderdale an estimated £1.3 million each year and NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants patients and carers to be aware of how they can help to reduce that amount.

If medicine isn’t taken as prescribed – to prevent or cure illness, or help with symptoms – health conditions can worsen.

Also, once prescribed medicines have been taken out of the pharmacy (chemist), they cannot be re-issued for anyone else.  Recent CCG research across Calderdale shows just over half of patients surveyed thought unopened medicines may be returned to the pharmacy for use by other patients.

Money wasted on unused medicines in Calderdale each year could pay for:

  • 40 MORE community nurses or
  • 230 MORE hip replacements or
  • 2620 MORE drug treatments for Alzheimer’s or
  • 1390 MORE cataract operations.

In the drive to encourage Calderdale residents to be ‘super patients’ in the fight against waste, people who have repeat or multiple prescriptions are encouraged to think about each item before reordering and to talk to their pharmacist or GP if they are unsure about anything on their prescription.

Dr Nigel Taylor, GP prescribing lead for Calderdale CCG said: “GPs and community pharmacists regularly see stockpiles of medicines that patients have ordered and not used.

“When re-ordering repeat prescriptions, patients and carers should only request the medicines and products they are currently using.  Because medicines can’t be re-used for other patients once they have left the pharmacy, we’re encouraging people to only order what they need.

“If patients have stopped taking their medicines it is important to let their GP know. Discussions about medication are an important part of the relationship between doctors and patients.”

Helen Foster, Medicines Management Lead for Calderdale CCG added: “The most important thing is that patients understand what their medicines are for and how to take them correctly.

“People should speak to their pharmacist as a first point of contact if they are unsure about why or how to take a medicine or need additional advice.”

Recent research in Calderdale found over 90 per cent of patients surveyed agreed patients can play a role in reducing medicines waste.

From February, the ‘super patient’ campaign will run across Calderdale in local media and through a range of information materials in GP surgeries, pharmacies and care homes.

Here’s how to become a super patient:

  • Take medicines as prescribed.
  • If you’re not sure why you have certain items or you’ve stopped taking some of them, talk to your pharmacist or GP
  • Think carefully before ticking repeat prescriptions – only select what’s really needed. You can order medicine in future – it will stay on the repeat prescription for the next time.
  • If you are going into hospital, take all your prescription medicines with you


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