Revealed: The ‘staggering’ cost of wasted medication

Newmarket Medical Practice: Dispensary Manager Sarah Russell with Carissa Poole, Karen Siddle, Sharon McClung and Jessica Walmsley. EMN-150902-164436001
Newmarket Medical Practice: Dispensary Manager Sarah Russell with Carissa Poole, Karen Siddle, Sharon McClung and Jessica Walmsley. EMN-150902-164436001
0
Have your say

Almost £16,000 worth of medicine was wasted by patients in East Lindsey within just three months last year, 
it has been revealed.

The figures, released by NHS, show that 
£300m worth of medication was wasted in England in a year, including £5m in Lincolnshire.

It is estimated that this £5m could alternatively fund around 330 courses of breast cancer treatment, 1,350 hip replacements or 5,000 cataract operations.

Between March 1 and May 31 last year, around £3,000 worth of medication was returned by patients to both the Newmarket Medical Practice and the North Thoresby surgery, and a further £1,000 was returned at the James Street Family Practice. Just under 
£800 worth of wasted medication was returned to Kidgate Surgery.

Dr Brynnen Massey, from North Thoresby Surgery, said: “The amount of medicines being returned to our local GP practices is staggering.

“There are various reasons why they are returned. Patients tend to stop taking their prescribed medication if it causes side effects or they think it is not working. Equally, it can be something as simple as people forgetting to take their medicines.

“If you experience side effects or think your medication is not working you should speak to your GP, a nurse or a pharmacist, who will be able to advise you on alternatives or ways to reduce side effects.”

Angela Jesney, Practice Manager at Newmarket Medical Practice, added: “This has a huge impact on the NHS. I think patients need to be vigilant about what medicines they’re taking, and what is needed.

“Waste medication has been historically bad. Items end up being left on repeat prescriptions, and patients sometimes continue to order them when it’s no longer needed.”

Mary Bilcliffe, Dispensary Manager at James Street Medical Practice, said that efforts are being made to tackle the problem.

“Unfortunately medicine wastage does happen, but there are plans to try and stop it. We are meeting with the Clinical Commissioning Group soon and we will be discussing it then.

“My advice to patients is please only order what you actually need, and only keep a 28 day stock.

“Please do not over-order.”