Don’t be a waster, help your local NHS

Don’t be a waster, help your local NHS

THE NHS in West Lancashire is reminding residents of the importance of tackling the issue of medicines waste.

One year on from the launch of their programme, ‘being a hoarder is out of order’, NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has marked the one-year anniversary with a refreshed new look campaign under the banner ‘don’t be a waster’. This comes after a successful first year of introducing the new system for ordering repeat prescriptions.

The programme, which was introduced in November 2016, aimed at helping to tackle the growing issue of medicines waste, which costs the NHS an estimated £300M nationally and £600,000 a year locally in West Lancashire. Additionally, the programme also looked to address the very real medicines safety issues that are posed by keeping unused medicines at home if they get into the wrong hands. The CCG has released a story so far report, which is available on our website. [ ]

Dr John Caine, local GP and chair at NHS west Lancashire CCG, said: “In the year since we launched our programme for ordering repeat prescriptions, the early signs are that this is working.

“We have seen a significant reduction in medicine costs, which is due to a number of initiatives of which the medicines waste programme is one.

“We have seen fewer wasted medicines because of patients having discussions with their GP and pharmacists and only ordering what they need.

“Our local patients have really embraced technology with a huge increase in the amount of people using Patient Access to order and manage their repeat prescriptions.”

The relaunch of the medicines waste programme also coincides with the expansion of the CCG’s Prescription Ordering Direct Service (POD) across West Lancashire.  The POD, which was originally trialled in 2017 as a pilot in Skelmersdale, is a prescribing hub based within GP practices, with local medicines coordinators, who are qualified to deal with prescriptions and offer medications advice.

The POD is currently based within the Skelmersdale Family Practice in Skelmersdale, with plans underway to open new PODs across practices in West Lancashire in the Spring 2018, with new PODs opening at Manor Primary Care in Skelmersdale and at Stanley Court in Burscough and Burscough Medical Centre.

For any patients who may have questions regarding the POD, a FAQ document is available.

This is Cheryl’s story: Cheryl is responsible for ordering medication for her sister who has cancer. However, Cheryl finds it difficult to come into the surgery and due to the complicated, ever changing nature of her sisters’ medication, this is causing her anxiety.

Cheryl was given the contact details for the POD and advised that they would be able to help. She now has a dedicated healthcare professional, who is on hand to help her order her sisters’ medication.

Cheryl found this service to be quick and easy and she was able to talk about how she was feeling. The POD sends the prescription directly to her pharmacy through an Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) who then deliver the medication straight to her door. The service is quick, easy and Cheryl can discuss any concerns that she has. If there is an issue that the POD cannot deal with then they offer to make an appointment to see a clinician.                                                                                               

Nicola Baxter, head of medicines optimisation at NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: “Following the launch of our medicines waste programme, we wanted to continue to offer support to residents in the management of their prescriptions, so we introduced the POD pilot in Skelmersdale.

“The pilot has proven to be really popular and as a result we will be expanding further in Skelmersdale and Burscough.

“With the introduction of our PODs, we’ll be looking at how we can continue to support our more vulnerable residents, to ensure that everyone gets the support and help that they need when ordering repeat prescriptions, whilst we also collectively help to look after our NHS by ensuring that we stop ordering medicines that are not needed.”

The CCG is encouraging patients who have used the POD to share their feedback, by completing their online survey: (paper copies are available upon request within the POD or by calling 01695 588 203).