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Tackling Medicine Waste in North Dorset

Waste of prescribed medication continues to cost the NHS millions every year and estimates suggest this could be in excess of £3 million in Dorset. In response, GPs and community pharmacies across North Dorset have joined together to launch a month long campaign to tackle the problem. Throughout October patients will be encouraged to return their unused or unwanted medications and to make sure that they are only ordering what they need.

One of the main concerns is that medicines on repeat prescription are sometimes no longer needed but continue to be ordered by the patient, or the carer on their behalf. These medicines are the target of this new campaign to save money and improve local healthcare. The key message is that medicines waste is everyones responsibility - if you are aware it's happening, make sure it stops! The campaign will also remind patients of the importance of having a regular medicine use review with their pharmacist or prescribing Doctor to discuss any issues relating to their medication(s).

Many people are unaware that once medications have been prescribed and have left the pharmacy premises they cannot be recycled whether they have been used or not. By law, these must be disposed of in a controlled manner which in itself is an additional cost.

Another focus of the campaign is to raise awareness of the dangers of having unused medicines lyng around the home. This may be a significant danger, particularly if there are young children present.

Dr Simone Yule, Lead GP for North Dorset, said: "We are constantly looking at ways to deliver better and more effective patient care, making the best use of NHS resources. We want to ensure that our patients are gettng the most out of their prescribed medicines, and are using them safely. If patients have unwanted medicines at home, or have any concerns about their medication they should discuss with their Doctor or Pharmacist. Wasted medicines means wasted money. Medication can't be used again and if we can reduce waste then we cuold reinvest in other areas of healthcare to benefit our local community. That is why we are asking patients to check their repeat prescriptions and to make sure that they only order what they need."

The idea for the campaign came frm members of the local Patient Participation Groups (PPGs), which work with GP practices to help improve health services in the area. As your GP practice for more information about your local PPG. These voluntary groups are open to any patient to join.

Posters and leaflets will be distributed to GP surgeries and Pharmacies. Anyone with unwanted medicines can return these to their local Pharmacy or Dispensing GP Practice for safe disposal.

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