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

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. 

Dr Manir Hussain, Associate Director of Medicines Optimisation at North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs, said “Many people don’t realise that unwanted medicines they return to the pharmacy can’t be reused and have to be destroyed.”

“Our local NHS simply can’t afford this waste. This money could be better spent on improving health services for local people.

“We encourage the public, pharmacies and GP practices to get involved in the campaign and to do their bit to help reduce the amount of medicines wasted across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”

Stoke GP, Dr Ian Leese, 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. ”

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.”

Pharmacies will also play their part by checking what medicines a patient has before ordering any more.

Tania Cork, Community Pharmacist and Chief Officer of the North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 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."