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NHS Fife is appealing to locals to play their role in reducing medicines waste, which totals around £2million every year.  

Everyone comes into contact with NHS services at some point; whether that is through our regular dental check-up, an appointment with our GP or a visit from our family Health Visitor. It is easy to take for granted that we can access the wide variety of healthcare services free at the point of need.

Providing such services requires considerable resources and it is crucial that this resource is spent as wisely as possible to offer the maximum benefit to the people of Fife. NHS Fife is, therefore, launching ‘Love Your NHS Fife’campaign, which reminds people of the valuable work it does and asks Fife’s residents to play their part making healthcare services in the Kingdom as efficient and effective as possible.

NHS Fife Medical Director, Dr Frances Elliot, says

“We can all do our bit. We all love and value our NHS and we all have a responsibility ensure its resources are being used in the most efficient way possible.  Medicines worth £2million are wasted each year in Fife – money that could be better spent improving the services we provide for patients”.

There are a whole host of positive or unavoidable reasons why some medicines go to waste: A health condition improves and the medicine is no longer required or a prescription is changed because the original medication is not working well enough. However people who have repeat prescriptions may sometimes find they have more than they need and this is where they can help reduce waste.

Dr. Elliot adds:

“There are simple things people can do to help. People tend to get their prescriptions in bulk over Christmas, afraid that their pharmacy will be closed over the festive season. However, if  they order too much of something they use relatively infrequently the chances of this going out of date and having to be disposed of increases. So we are asking people to request medicines only in quantities that they will use. There is no need to stockpile”.   

People are also asked to check their medicines before they leave a pharmacy to ensure the bag they are handed contains the correct medicines and only those they need. Dr. Elliot explains “ Many people are under the misconception that returned or unwanted medicines can be reused, but returned medicines must be incinerated on the grounds of safety. Once medicines leave the pharmacy premises those medicine cannot be reused even if they are returned unopened”.

“It is also important to consider whether every item on their prescription is the best use of NHS resources. The associated costs of these medicines have risen very significantly over recent years and that’s why we are asking Fife’s residents to help NHS Fife use medicines wisely and to #LoveYourNHSFife”.