Help us to reduce medicines waste

Help us to help you – patients asked to think before ordering repeat prescriptions









Patients should check what they have at home before they reorder repeat prescriptions, is the message being highlighted as part of a campaign to reduce medicine waste.


The aim is to make an impact in reducing the amount of unused medicines that are thrown away – costing the NHS £300 million across the UK every year, money that could instead be put towards patient care.


Sarah Vaux, Chief Nurse at Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, explained: “As a way of giving patients access to the medicines they need, repeat prescriptions have proved very useful, but when a patient has a list of several different items it’s easy for them to reorder all of them at the same time without thinking about what they actually need.


“By encouraging patients to only tick to reorder medicines they are low on, and pharmacists and GPs to discuss the need for the medicines, we hope people will end up with less of a stockpile of prescriptions they do not need, resulting in less wasted medicines.”


To highlight the issue, posters and leaflets will be appearing in GP surgeries, pharmacies and at Medway hospital.


As well as asking patients to consider if they still need all of the items listed on their prescription, doctors and pharmacists are also encouraged to review their repeat prescription systems to ensure any changes are implemented quickly, such as the removal of medicines from repeat prescription lists which are no longer prescribed.


Sarah Vaux added: “We want to guarantee that only medicines that are actually needed are issued, avoiding the automatic repeat of all items on the list. We know some patients like to have a spare stock of medicines ‘just in case’ but we recommend only having a maximum of one months’ supply at home.


“We really want patients to order only those medicines that they need.”


Patients are also encouraged to check medicines before leaving the pharmacy. Unwanted dispensed medicines returned to the pharmacy cannot be reused, even if they are new, due to safety issues. The only way pharmacies can re-use medicines is if the prescription bag is checked while still in the pharmacy.


If any patient is unsure about their medicines they should talk to their pharmacist or GP practice.






For more press information, please contact:

Andrew Metcalf, Rachel Knight or Erica Jones at Maxim

T: 01892 513033

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Notes to Editors


  • Medway CCG is responsible for planning and buying local NHS services, for the patient population of 295,223 across Medway.
  • Medway CCG’s main role is to plan and buy health services across the Medway towns. It works closely with patient groups, local public health, social care and voluntary sector partners to make sure the right services are available at the right time.
  • The CCG is one of 211 in the country, the Medway CCG is made up of GPs, other healthcare professionals and experienced commissioners dedicated to making Medway a healthier place to live.
  • It is committed to developing a strong clinically-led organisation that puts the needs of Medway residents at the heart of its decisions.
  • Medway Clinical Commissioning Group has a governing body made up of local GPs, a registered nurse and several lay members, all working with a network of health professionals across the area.