What you can do to help combat Medicine Waste

Medicine Waste

Wasted medicine is everyone’s responsibility and there are small changes you can make to help reduce the amount of medicines being wasted.

Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) supports GP Practices in promoting Self-Care.

Repeat prescriptions

The way medications are ordered is changing.

From September 2019, you (or your carer, nominated family member or friend) will have to order your medication directly from the GP practice yourself.local GP practices will not accept prescription requests from pharmacies or companies for most patients.

To find out more about these changes, and the reasons for them, see our frequently asked questions or leaflet here.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is about everyone taking responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. This includes keeping both the body and mind fit and healthy.

What does Self-Care do?

Self-care can help prevent illness and accidents and if a person does become ill, has a long term condition or disability: it can help them to take care of themselves better.

By visiting your local pharmacy instead of your GP, you can save time and trouble – no need to book an appointment just walk in.

You can talk to your pharmacist in confidence, even about the most personal symptoms, and you don’t need to make any appointment. It’s possible to walk into any community pharmacy and ask to speak with the pharmacist.

Pharmacists can help recognise and treat many common illnesses. They can give advice and where appropriate, recommend over-the-counter medicines that could help clear up the problem.

Unused medicines are a safety risk

● Return out of date medicines to your pharmacy or dispensary for safe disposal

● If your medicines change – return your old medicines to the pharmacy for safe disposal to avoid mixing them up with your new medicines

● Don’t stock pile medication – it is a safety risk for children and others who might take them

● Store medicines in an appropriate place out of reach of children

Remember that used medicines cannot be recycled

● Even if you never open them, once medicines have left the pharmacy, they cannot be recycled or used by anyone else

● Please bring your unused medicines to the pharmacy for safe disposal

● Never dispose of your unused or unwanted medicines down the toilet

Only order the medication that you need

Top Tips to reduce medicine waste

There are a number of ways that you can help to reduce the issue of wasted medicines and save money for your local NHS.

Only order the medicines that you need

● Please let your GP or pharmacist know if you’ve stopped taking any of your medicines

● Check what medicines you still have at home before re-ordering

● Discuss your medication with your GP or pharmacist on a regular basis

● Think carefully before ticking all the boxes on your repeat prescription forms and only tick those you really need

● If you don’t need the medicine please don’t order it! If you need the medicine in the future you can still request it

● If you need to go into hospital, please remember to take all your medicines with you in a clearly marked bag

● Please also remember that your medicines are prescribed only for you; it’s not safe to share them with anyone else


Medicine Waste

Medicine waste is everyone’s responsibility and there are small changes you can make to help reduce the amount of medicines being wasted. These savings could be reinvested into more front line care and services for the benefit of all.

Waste prescription medicines cost nearly £1 million every year across Harrogate and the rural district.

That’s a hard pill to swallow

Based on average costs that money could pay for an extra:

          ● 1,058 days of care in an intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) for critically ill patients

          ● 5,389 outpatient appointments with a Consultant

          ● 1,764 days of treatment in a Special Care Baby Unit for seriously ill babies

          ● 20,000 GP appointments

          ● 99,700 blood tests

          ● 20 community nurses

          ● 16,363 hearing tests

          ● 600,000 inhalers for asthmatics


You can download this information as a leaflet produced by the Medicines Management Team at Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

If you have any questions about this content, get in touch via:

          Telephone: 01423 799300

          Address: Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group, 1 Grimbald

          Crag Court, St. James Business Park, Knaresborough, HG5 8QB

          Email: hardccg.hardmedicinewaste@nhs.net

Useful Websites:

For further information on conditions, treatments, local services and healthy living, please visit:

NHS Choices: www.nhs.uk

Self-Care Forum: http://www.selfcareforum.org/resources/

Patient UK: http://patient.info/