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Group Set Up to Help Save £300m of Wasted Medicines

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 The Department of Health (DH) aim to create a group that will aid in reducing the £300m which is wasted on unused medicines each year throughout the NHS.

The DH has estimated that medicine wastage accounts for £300m of NHS spending every year, around half of which, they suggest, is avoidable. Furthermore, another £500m is wasted because patients do not take medicines properly and therefore do not get the full benefits of them.

Robert Johnstone, a trustee of health and social care charity National Voices, and Rob Darracott, chief executive of community pharmacy group Pharmacy Voice will jointly chair the group, to be called The Steering Group to Improve the Use of Medicines.

The co-chairs are expected to recruit experts and representatives of patients with the aim to produce an action plan in early 2012.

Rob Darracott said, “There are lots of good ideas around for how health professionals can provide better support for patients and the public to help them use their medicines more effectively.

What the NHS needs now is a real plan for embedding those ideas in systems that historically have been more concerned with the product than the person.”

Robert Johnstone added that the group aimed to ensure patients are informed of all treatment options and can therefore be involved in the decision making in the hope that this can improve the use of medication.

“Managing repeat prescribing better and providing patients with adequate and appropriate information should help to improve health outcomes and additionally reduce wastage of medicines,” he stated.

Health minister Lord Howe said that the initiative was not only about saving money but about making sure patients get the best outcomes from their medications.

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