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Help reduce medicine waste in Richmond and save NHS money

Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched the 'it's okay to ask about medicines' campaign in a bid to tackle unnecessary medicine waste and save the NHS money.

Posters and leaflets will appear in GP practices and pharmacies across the borough reminding people to only order the medicines they need and to tell their GP, pharmacist or nurse if they have stopped using their medicines.​

The campaign highlights the risks to patients of not using their medicines properly, and the cost of medicine waste to the NHS.

The Department of Health estimates that unused medicines cost the NHS around £300 million every year. Locally, in Richmond, it is estimated to cost approximately £1.1 million each year.

Dr Graham Lewis, local GP and Chair of Richmond CCG, said: "GPs understand that patients sometimes struggle with taking their medicines for a variety of reasons. They could be worried about side effects, don't think they are working or find it difficult to remember to take them.

"Patients shouldn't be afraid to tell their GP or pharmacist if they have stopped taking their medicines or no longer want to take them."

Tara Bahri, Senior Practice Pharmacist at Richmond CCG, said: "Pharmacists are qualified experts who can provide helpful advice, such as the NHS medicines use review, a free service that helps patients understand more about their medicines.

"We want to encourage patients to only order what they need when they hand in their repeat prescription. They should check what medicines they have at home first and only tick the boxes on the repeat prescription form that they need.

"If you use the electronic prescription service, tell your pharmacist if they give you medicines you're no longer using or if you already have enough at home."

Richmond residents should look out for advertising in GP practices and pharmacies. The CCG will also be active on Twitter @NHSRichmondCCG. Look out for #itsokaytoask.​