Medicines waste:

You and your medicines

Wasted or unused medicine is a serious and growing problem within the NHS that you can help tackle.

Medicines that are requested on prescriptions but then not used are sometimes referred to as Medicines Waste. Nationally, for every £25 spent on prescription medication, £1 is wasted.

The NHS pays for every medicine it dispenses, there is no such thing as a free prescription, and if it is not needed by the patient the NHS also pays for the medicines to be disposed of.

By talking and listening to the local community, GPs, pharmacies and other healthcare professionals it’s clear how important it is that we tackle the issue of medicine waste, particularly at a time when locally and nationally the NHS system is facing major challenges to meet the demand for services within available resources.

How can you help?

Reducing medicines waste is important to us, but it is not something we can do alone.

We need your help to work together to stop medicines waste across the area, reduce the spend, and get more from your local NHS.

We want to raise awareness amongst the public and need to get residents in South East London to:

  • check what you already have at home before you order more
  • tell your doctor if you stop taking your medication
  • speak to your pharmacist if you are receiving medicines you don’t use.

Why is it important to keep your GP informed

If your GP prescribes medication to treat a condition, it’s important to take it in exactly the way that it’s been prescribed to receive the most benefit.

If you stop taking your medication – or if you stop taking it in the way your doctor prescribed – please tell your doctor about this. They’ll help you to make an informed choice about your medication and may be able to prescribe an alternative.

Help yourself to keep well

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you’re 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition. Read more to keep well this winter. 

For more information throughout the year visit Your health.

South East London Integrated Care System

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