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Wasted medicines set to cost local NHS £9 million in 2016 

Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is launching a new campaign to reduce medicines waste across the borough and encourage residents to think twice before ordering repeat prescriptions. 

“Every year, medicines waste costs the NHS in south east London around £9 million; money that could be used to fund vital NHS services”, explains Vanessa Burgesss, Assistant Director for Medicines Optimisation and Long Term Conditions at Lambeth CCG.
 “For example, £9 million would pay for over 230 nurses or around 100 hospital doctors for a year.  Alternatively, it could fund 1,500 hip replacements, 12,600 hospital stays or talking therapies for over 22,500 people with mental health problems.” 

“By reducing medicines waste in Lambeth we can make a huge difference to health outcomes across the borough.”

A particular concern at present is the increase in prescriptions of medicines that can easily be bought over the counter at a much lower cost, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and antihistamines.  It’s estimated that nationally, over 22 million prescriptions were written out for paracetamol in 2015 at a cost of £80 million to the NHS – up to five times the cost of their high street retail price .

“What we’re asking people to do is think before ordering a repeat prescription from their GP” continues Vanessa Burgess.  “Do you already have enough of your prescription at home?  If so, then you probably don’t need any more.  

“Or perhaps you’ve stopped taking one of the medicines on your prescription?  It’s important that you’re taking your medicines properly, so if you’re concerned about things such as side effects or if you feel you don’t need your medication anymore, it’s OK to ask your GP or pharmacist.  Remember, you’re not wasting anyone’s time – they’re there to help.”

For more information on managing your medicines, pick up a copy of the ‘It’s OK to ask’ leaflet in your GP Practice, pharmacy, library or local council office.