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Medicine Waste Information

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
prescribing doctor to discuss any issues they may have with their drugs.

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 drugs in the home may mean that the patient is not getting the benefit they could be from their
medicines. It also represents a large amount of waste.

Wasted medicine means wasted money. It can't be used again and if we could save some of that money
we could reinvest it in other areas of healthcare to benefit the local community.

If patients have unused medicines at home NHS North East Essex Medicines Management team are
encouraging patients to take them back to the pharmacy for safe disposal and have a chat with the
pharmacist or prescribing GP about their medication and how to use it more effectively.

The campaign focus is on encouraging people not to stockpile medicines, only to order what is needed, and
to safely dispose of all unwanted medication.

Further information about the waste medicines campaign can be provided through NHS North East Essex
Medicines Management Team 01206 288500.



 
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