North Essex: �34m a year wasted on unused medicine

A CAMPAIGN to reduce the amount of medicine that is wasted across north Essex is being launched.

Health chiefs say �34million is lost every year through wasted or partially used medicines which costs the equivalent of 9,275 more hip replacements or 1,350 more nurses.

North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is leading the drive to encourage patients to only order what they need, return their unwanted medicines to their pharmacy for safe disposal, and take their medicines with them when they go into hospital.

As part of the campaign, three community events will take place in the area for members of the public to find out more about reducing waste. These events will be at the following locations from 10am to 4pm:

n Thursday, October 25: Outside Town Hall, Colchester


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n Friday, October 26: ASDA Main Road, Harwich

n Thursday, November 1: Pier Avenue Fountain, Clacton-on-Sea

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The Commissioning Group say one of the main concerns is repeat prescriptions, which are ordered and collected by patients but then not used.

It is estimated that �90m worth of unused prescription medicines are retained in homes across the UK at any one time. Around half of all do not take or use their medicines as prescribed.

Posters and leaflets will also be displayed in pharmacies and GP practices to raise awareness of medicine waste among both patients and carers.

Dr Shane Gordon, clinical chief officer of the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Everyone who prescribes, dispenses or reviews medicines should involve patients in decisions about their treatment. This helps to ensure that more medicines are taken as recommended.

“It is obvious that patients won’t get any benefit from unused medicines. However, medicines that are dispensed to patients but not used also represent a large amount of waste for our NHS. Once medicines are dispensed they cannot be given to another patient if they are not used. People can support their NHS to reduce this waste by only ordering medication that they are running out of – every little helps.”

He said the campaign will encourage patients to have regular reviews of their medicines and to discuss any issues they may have with their medication with their GP or pharmacist.

Anyone with unwanted medicines can return them to their local pharmacy where they will be disposed of safely. Further information can also be found on the national website www.medicinewaste.com

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