GPs in Barking and Dagenham target ‘wasted’ medicines

PUBLISHED: 18:33 25 May 2015 | UPDATED: 18:46 25 May 2015

Staff from Laburnum Health Centre receiving their certificates and hampers.

Staff from Laburnum Health Centre receiving their certificates and hampers.


Local GPs are trying to reduce medical waste after it was estimated drugs prescribed but unused by patients cost the NHS in Barking and Dagenham around £1million each year.

To address this, GP practices in the borough have been competing to produce the best campaigns to reduce the amount of medicines wasted.

These campaigns were judged by local patients and the winning GP practices received a certificate and a hamper.

Dr Gurkirit Kalkat, a local GP and prescribing lead at Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Please don’t stockpile unused medicines – they could be out of date or be taken by someone else who hasn’t been prescribed them. Anyone with unwanted medicines can return them to their local pharmacy where they will be disposed of safely. Legally, unwanted medicines cannot be reused.”

The two campaigns that came out on top were from Laburnum Health Centre in Dagenham and Marks Gate Health Centre in Chadwell Heath.

Each practice created posters and leaflets to make patients aware of the cost of unused medication, as well as adding a message to prescription order forms to encourage people to think before reordering their medicine.

Practices were also judged on displays of the promotional material in the surgery.

Dr Kalkat added: “If you’re taking prescribed medication, it’s important that you only order what you need from your repeat prescription form, taking into account the medicines you already have at home. You should also make sure that you have regular discussions with your GP or pharmacist so that you can be sure you are getting the best from the medications you’re taking.

“Reducing medicines waste is something that could save the NHS millions of pounds each year. We’re delighted to see the progress that has already been made in local GP surgeries and would like to thank all of the practices that took part for their hard work.”

Nationally, medicines prescribed but unused by patients cost the NHS around £300million each year and there is an estimated £90million worth of prescription medicines sitting unused in our homes today.

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