We should all be familiar with the problems faced by the NHS when it comes to costs. Every day we are faced with news stories that highlight the urgent need to do all we can to save the NHS both time and money.
The ‘Open Up’ about medicines campaign is drawing attention to one simple way we can all help preserve our NHS services.
Open Up About Medicines
Wasted medicines cost the NHS a massive £300 million every year. Every time we are prescribed medication by our GPs, the cost of those medicines comes from your local NHS budget. But a significant number of people will choose not to use the medicines they are prescribed. Perhaps they do not want their doctors to know they do not take a particular medicine, or it causes side effects which they would prefer to avoid.
Whatever the reason may be, prescription medicines that are left unused therefore go to waste. They cannot be reissued or reused by anyone, and so millions of NHS budget also goes to waste.
Rethinking Your Approach to Medication
We can all do our part to reduce the financial pressure on the NHS by considering our own prescriptions and opening up to our healthcare professionals about what we use and what we don’t.
If you are collecting prescriptions for medication that you do not take, discuss your reasons with your GP. They can review whether that particular medicine is still necessary, or prescribe an alternative if you feel it does not suit you. Be honest with your GP: they cannot make correct decisions without receiving accurate information from you.
Speaking Out – How Your Pharmacist Can Help
Your GP is not the only medical professional who can give you advice on your prescription. Your local pharmacist will be able to advise you on the best course of action if you are having problems with your prescribed medication.
When collecting your medication from the pharmacist, you can also take simple steps to ensuring you do not leave with unwanted or unnecessary medicines.
Firstly, always check your prescription and inform the pharmacist if there is anything you do not want. Before leaving the premises, check which medicines you have been given and return any that you do not want.
Once medication has been allocated and taken from the pharmacy, it cannot be used for anyone else. It is better to turn down medicines if you have genuine concerns than to take it home and it remain unused.
What to do in Hospital
The same approach must also be taken with medicines that you are prescribed whilst in hospital. Discuss with your doctor or other healthcare professional the medicines they recommend, and be sure to voice your concerns if there is anything you are unhappy or unlikely to use.
Once you have your medication, make sure you take it with you whether you leave the hospital or are moved to another ward. This ensures that no medication is lost of needs to be replaced, therefore costing the NHS twice as much.
Talking Things Through
If you have any queries or concerns regarding any medication you are currently taking, you can book an appointment with your GP to discuss your options. You can also find help by calling NHS Direct on 111 to speak to a trained medical professional if you need assistance out of hours. They can advise you on the best steps to take in reducing your wasted medicines.
TheEast Berkshire Primary Care Out of Hours Service is committed to helping its patients make the best decisions for themselves and our local NHS services. By reducing waste wherever we can, patient care can be improved and the budget allocated to the areas most in need.