Going on holiday this summer? Don’t overfill your suitcase with medicine

Date: 24 Jul 2017

Category: Campaign

Patients in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are being asked not to over order medicines ahead of their summer holidays this year.

NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs) are asking people to check their cupboards and supplies before placing a repeat prescription order this summer.

Anyone with unwanted medicines can return them to their local pharmacy for safe disposal.

"We know that sometimes patients order more medicine than they need ahead of going on holiday. Therefore we ask that people check their cupboards and the amount of medication they already have carefully before putting in their repeat prescription requests. It is important that patients have the medicines they need when travelling abroad, but we want to ensure that medicines are not over-ordered and then end up sitting in people’s cupboards and going to waste. If patients do over order, the important thing is that those medicines are used the following month before ordering more."

- Debbie Campbell, Clinical Lead for Prescribing at North Somerset CCG

In Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire medicines waste costs an estimated £8.4 million a year, which is estimated to be equivalent to more than 185,000 GP appointments.

Medicines waste occurs when medicines are requested on repeat prescription but are not actually needed or not used by patients.

The CCGs are campaigning to reduce medicines waste by asking people to only order the medicines they need.

"There is no such thing as a free prescription, every medicine dispensed is paid for even if it is not used. If the patient doesn’t use it the NHS also pays for the medicines to be disposed of. This costs a lot of money that could be reinvested to benefit other healthcare services for patients. Ultimately we would like patients to take medicines as prescribed, and if patients are receiving medicine that they do not take any more or have any questions about their medication, they should speak with their GP Practice or Pharmacist."
"If anyone receives too large a quantity of a certain medication, this quantity can be reduced to what you need to avoid medicines waste. If we can reduce the amount of medicines waste, this money can be reinvested to benefit healthcare across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire."

Stop medicines waste