HEALTH chiefs have been urged to do more to slash the amount of money they spend on unused medication in order to divert the cash to ‘desperately’ needed health services.
The Worcestershire Partnership of Older People’s Forum has sent a letter to the NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group after a report by the Department of Health found unused medicines cost the NHS more than £300million every year.
In South Worcestershire alone, unused medications and prescriptions costs the CCG £1.7million a year – half of which is avoidable health chiefs have admitted.
In the letter to the South Worcestershire CCG, the Worcestershire Partnership of Older People’s Forum said they will do all they can to highlight the ‘significant waste’ and the increasing amount of medication being ‘wasted.’
“We wholly support the campaign to reduce the significant waste and want to highlight the number of unnecessary prescriptions and increasing amount of medication being produced and wasted,” they said.
“Audits have proven that medication is often returned unopened.
“Please can we ask that you urge GPs, practitioners, carers and care homes to review the medication given to their patients to avoid repeat prescriptions including medication no longer needed.
“By reducing the amount of unnecessary prescriptions we could increase the available funding for desperately needed health services and treating patients.
In response, a spokesperson for NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The CCG is continually working to monitor and reduce the amount of waste medicine across south Worcestershire and has implemented a number of measures to support this.
“These include running waste campaigns through GP practices and community pharmacies urging patients to order only what they need.
“The CCG has commissioned a pharmacist led support service for care homes to help support the optimal use of medicines in care homes, which has already demonstrated a reduction in waste medication.
“The CCG is also currently assessing different models of support for GP practices to improve the accuracy and process of prescription production.”