Like all other Health Boards and public-funded bodies in Scotland, NHS Dumfries and Galloway is having to make financial savings.
We use over £30 million of public money to fund drugs prescribed by our GPs. With the current emphasis on cost savings, the Prescribing Support Team pharmacists based in Dumfries, Castle Douglas, Stranraer and Lockerbie, are keen to highlight public awareness of the cost of medicines and the impact of wasted medicines on the NHS.
A spokesperson for the Prescribing Support Team said: “We can all do something to improve the situation. Our GPs are being encouraged to prescribe the most cost-effective treatments available. As a result, patients may notice a change in their regular medicine to ‘generic’ non-branded products or to an alternative drug which will provide the same benefit for less money. We are also asking patients to ‘do their bit’ and be mindful of wasting medicines particularly when ordering repeat prescriptions. What most people don’t realise is that once a dispensed medicine leaves the pharmacy it cannot be re-used or re-cycled if returned, even if it has not been opened and is still in date. We hope that by working together we can go some way to maintaining current NHS services.”
The message to patients is that prior to ordering any medicines from their doctor, they should first check what supplies they have at home and then only order what they need at that time. Keeping excessive amounts of medicines in the home can be dangerous to children and other family members as medicines should only ever be taken by the person they are prescribed for. If people find they have medicines at home which they no longer use, they are urged to inform their GP or Pharmacist so that their records can be updated. Any unnecessary or expired medication should be returned to the local pharmacy for safe disposal.
Dumfries community pharmacist John Colvin said; “It’s unbelievable how much medicine gets handed into the pharmacy every week for disposal. Whilst some is for legitimate reasons, there is a significant amount which is preventable waste.”
Angus Cameron, NHS Dumfries & Galloway Medical Director added: “Patients can help us by ordering their prescriptions wisely and if they follow these simple suggestions, they will personally contribute in a positive manner to the better use of NHS resources.”