Medicines are an integral part of the care and treatment that many local patients receive to manage their health conditions and improve their health.
Efficient management of medicines is an important part of our mix in delivering positive outcomes for patients and value for money for NHS resources. We work closely with GP practices, community pharmacies and other clinicians and health professionals to ensure medicines are optimised so our patients receive evidence-based treatments at a price affordable to the local health economy.
As local clinical commissioners, we want to ensure all patients receive the right medicine they need at the right time.
We have a team of experienced pharmacists and prescribing technicians who work closely with our GP member practices to look at how patients use their medicines over time.
We may consider if it is appropriate to stop some medicines or whether prescribing a new medicine could more beneficial for patients. We also look at whether there are opportunities for lifestyle changes or non-medical therapies that could reduce a patient’s need for medicines in the first place.
It has been estimated that £300 million of NHS prescribed medicines are wasted each year.
Unwanted dispensed medicines returned to the pharmacy after they have been taken away from the building cannot be reused again for other patients, even if they are new, because of safety issues. The only way pharmacies can reuse medicines is if you check your prescription bag whilst still inside the pharmacy, returning any unwanted medicines back to the pharmacist before you leave.
We have been working with our local GP practices and pharmacies to reduce this waste by reminding patients to:
- Check stock of medicines at home before ordering more
- Don’t tick a medication on the repeat prescription slip if it is not needed
- Talk to a pharmacist or GP if they have any questions about their medicines