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11 March 2019, 16:24 | Updated: 11 March 2019, 16:25
Nearly £2 million worth of medicines is being wasted in mid Essex every year.
NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says half the medication returned to pharmacies hasn't even been opened, but it still has to be destroyed.
The CCG is now launching a new campaign which aims to save vital funds for health services by clamping down on wasted medicines.
Called “Your Medicines, Your NHS”, the year-long campaign is designed to raise awareness of the estimated £2 million worth of medicines wasted in Braintree District, Chelmsford City and Maldon District each year.
That funding, if not spent on medication that goes to waste, could pay for: • 566 new hips; or • 139 more chemotherapy courses for breast cancer; or • 61 more community nurses.
As part of the campaign, we're being asked not to stockpile medicines and to open the bag when a pharmacist gives us our prescriptions, so we can hand back anything we don't need
Paula Wilkinson, Chief Pharmacist for Mid Essex CCG, said: “We are encouraging everyone to reduce medicines wastage. Things can change between putting in your request for repeat medicines and when you collect them. So play your part – ‘Open the Bag’ and hand back any medicines that you don’t need."
You can get involved by making a pledge to support the campaign or joining the conversation on social media using the hashtags #OpenTheBag and #MedicinesWaste.