Why is there a problem?

The NHS spends over £8 billion a year on prescription drugs in primary care inEngland. It has been estimated that of this, £100 million worth is wasted.

What are the causes of the waste?

Around 10% of all medicines dispensed are not used.
Some people over order medicines they do not need and keep them “just in case”.
People re-order everything on their repeat list even though they no longer use it.
Medicines are dispensed by the pharmacy although drug dosage or actual medication has changed.

What can we do about it?

Waste audits have been carried out nationally and locally to determine the extent of the problem. Locally two Poynton practices found that over a period of one month £6,500 of medicines were returned to pharmacies for destruction. A GP equated this to an annual waste of £100,000 of taxpayers money because this amount does not include waste from nursing homes or drugs which are not returned to pharmacies for destruction. Here in Bollington we performed a similar exercise with our local pharmacy which showed a staggering waste of £5,459 over one month.
28 day prescribing has been shown to reduce waste.

Although some waste is inevitable, please do NOT tick items if you do not need them that month and identify items no longer required by writing “remove” on the prescription.

Thanks to all our patients for understanding our move to 28 day prescribing. This was not done without due consideration for patients and involves considerable work. We do feel confident that this will make a positive contribution to the reduction in medicine wastage.