Medicine waste campaign launches across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

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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. 

Susan Bamford, Medicines Optimisation Lead at East Staffordshire CCG, said: "Wasted or unused medicine is a serious and growing problem within the NHS. We often find that patients don’t realise the cost implications associated with medicine waste or that unwanted medicine cannot be given to other patients. 

“We hope that by encouraging patients, pharmacies and GP practices to think more about medicine waste, the new campaign will help Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to lead the way in reducing the £6million which is currently wasted each year.” 

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 Charles Pidsley, local GP and Chair of East Staffordshire CCG said: “It is important local GPs continue to support their patients who regularly receive prescription medicine. The ‘Medicines Matter’ campaign focuses on three simple steps to reduce medicine waste; only add medicine to a repeat prescription once a patient is stable on it, only use a 28 day repeat prescriptions with patients who need it and to regularly review 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.”