Bid to cut the £2.8m bill for wasted medicines
10:20am Tuesday 12th February 2013 in News
A BID to cut the estimated £2.8 million bill for medicines wasted in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan is being launched.
Patients, pharmacies and medical staff are being asked to play their part in reducing the amount of medicines that are wasted each year as part of a campaign to encourage people to only order what they need.
Health board staff say they have seen examples of excessive waste including one patient returning literally a trolley full of unused medicines to a supermarket pharmacy.
Dr Graham Shortland, the medical director for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “Last year the health board dispensed more than nine million items but we estimate that around £2.8 million of that was wasted for a variety of reasons.
“That money could provide 110 extra nurses or 2,914 more cataract operations.
“Previous efforts have been made to tackle this problem but this campaign represents a step change in our approach and we are asking patients, pharmacies and other medical staff to play their part.”
Cardiff and Vale UHB is working with colleagues in other health boards across Wales to ask the public to: ● Only order what they need ● Return their unwanted medicines to their pharmacy for safe disposal ● Take their medicines with them when they go into hospital GPs and pharmacists across the region have joined together in a bid to inform patients about their treatment and to help patients understand more about their medicines and the options they have. One of the main concerns is repeat prescriptions, which are ordered and collected by patients but then not used.
This can occur for a number of reasons, including: ● Patients not believing the medicine is necessary ● Possible side effects ● Fitting taking or using medicines into daily routines ● Choosing between medicines if patients feel they are taking too many ● Cutting down or stopping medicines they have been taking for a long time.
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.
Posters and leaflets will be displayed in pharmacies and GP practices to raise awareness of medicine waste among both patients and carers along with a bus advertising campaign.
The latest report from the Department of Health (November 23, 2010) cited Medicine Usage Reviews as a potential way to reduce waste.
In 2011, NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) issued new guidelines to healthcare professionals on how to involve patients in making decisions about prescribed medicines and reduce the number of people not taking or using their medicines correctly.