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Board launches antidrug wastage campaign to save millions

17 June 2008

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A Scottish health board has launched a drive to slash the amount of prescription medicine which is wasted each year.

NHS Lothian, which is responsible for providing services to 800,000 people in and around Edinburgh, estimates that at least £3m a year is wasted. Most of this wastage is a result of patients ordering more repeat prescriptions than they need and continuing to order medicines which are no longer being taken.

Pat Murray, director of pharmacy NHS Lothian, said: “We know that the estimated figure of around £3m is a low estimate and we need to get the message out to patients and carers the importance of only ordering the medicines they actually need.

“However, we also want to get the message out to GPs, nursing and pharmacy staff to make sure they discuss medication with patients on a regular basis to ensure their medication requirements are up to date.”

Should NHS Lothian be able to claw back what it describes as a conservative £3m estimate, it said the money would finance 75 more nurses, 460 more hip replacements or 260 more heart bypass operations.

Dr Charles Winstanley, chair of NHS Lothian said: “Everyone has a role to play in helping to minimise wasting valuable resources. This is an important area where we know savings made will make a real difference.”

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NHS Lothian