​Only ask for what you need

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NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to help reduce the cost of medicines waste. People on repeat prescriptions are being asked to avoid stockpiling medicines by checking how much medicine they have at home before asking for more.

Every year, medicines waste costs the NHS in south east London around £9 million (estimate based on national figure). This is money that could be used to fund vital NHS services. We all have a responsibility to use medicines responsibly.

How can you help?

At home

  • Check what medicines you have already at home before you ask for more.
  • You can request more medicine at any time, but stockpiling medicines at home increases the risk for children and others of accidental overdose. Unused medicines cannot be recycled, even if they have never been opened.
  • Don't tick it if you don't need it! There is no need to worry, the item will not disappear from your repeat prescription. It will still be there next time you need to order your medication.
  • One way to manage you prescriptions at home is by registering for GP online services. You can do this through your GP practice. You can use this to request your prescriptions online.

At your pharmacy

  • When you pick up your prescription from the pharmacy, check what is in the bag ensuring that it is what you requested and only what you need.  
  • You can return any unwanted medicines to the pharmacist. You cannot do this once you have left the pharmacy.

At your GP

  • When you see your GP or consultant, make sure you understand any changes in your medicines, and what each medicine is for and why you are taking it, and how to take it properly.
  • Tell your GP or pharmacist if you've stopped taking any medicines, so they can be removed from your repeat list.
  • Having regular discussions with your pharmacist and GP will mean you get the right help with taking your medicines.

If you need more medicine in the future you can still request it.  Stockpiling medicines increases the risk for children and others that may accidentally take them. Unused medicines cannot be recycled and issued again even if they have never been opened.

If everyone makes these small changes in Lambeth then, together, we can make a massive difference to reducing medicines waste and looking after our NHS in Lambeth.

Our campaign

We ran a campaign at the end of 2017. Posters were displayed in GP practices and pharmacies. Wallet cards were given out to patents and carers and digital advertisements appeared locally.

We will be runing a similar campaign from November to December 2018. Materials will be added here in early November.

Read about related campaigns here

Page updated 5.10.18