Patients would be prepared to accept reissued medicines if it were to help the NHS become more sustainable, research suggests.
A survey carried out on behalf of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) of more than 1,000 patients found almost all (92%) of those polled said they wanted the NHS to be more sustainable, with 19% saying it should be a top priority.
One in three patients also said they want the NHS to become more sustainable even if it were to cost more money.
More than half of the survey respondents said they would be ‘very likely’ or ‘fairly likely’ to accept reissued medicines, which had been returned used by patients and checked for safety.
One in six patients surveyed also urged the NHS to make more use of teleconferencing facilities in order to save money.
However, the survey also found the majority of patients would be ‘unlikely’ to highlight wastage to staff.
“This survey is a national vote of confidence for implementing sustainability in healthcare,” said Sonia Roschnik, Operational Director for the SDU.
“It demonstrates people want their health service to consider sustainability as part of its day job. It also means that we all need to find better ways of engaging with the public and with patients on sustainability.”
A separate survey of more than 170 senior NHS leaders showed the vast majority (90%) agreed with patients that NHS sustainability is important, with 60% saying it is essential to the running of their organisation.
The NHS leaders surveyed noted that infrastructural changes, ensuring sustainable pathways and models of care were the most “challenging” areas to implement.
“[Such issues] need addressing as they require clear leadership if organisations are to become more sustainable,” said the SDU’s report Sustainability in the NHS: Health Check 2012.
“Delivering sustainability requires very substantial organisational and cross organisational commitment. It needs corporate branding and effective use of performance metrics and rewards as well as regular engagement with staff, patients and the public.”