The NHS in North West London is increasing its efforts to reduce the waste of medicines and other prescribed products paid for by the NHS.  Medicines are wasted when they are prescribed and supplied, but not taken or used by the patient.

Waste often happens because medicines are ordered and provided for a patient when he or she does not want or need them.

We think that one useful step in reducing waste will be for us to provide medicines to you only when you ask for them yourself, rather than automatically or when a pharmacy asks on your behalf.

At the moment, community pharmacies request many patients’ repeat prescriptions from us.  We would like to change this.

We would like more people to take more direct control over their medicines, requesting their own repeat prescriptions from us and only requesting medicines (or other prescribed products) that they are running out of.

Please see the enclosed leaflet containing guidance on ordering your medicines when you need them.  From now please use one of these methods to request the medicines you need, when you need them.

Tell your pharmacy that you will be requesting your repeat medicines direct from your general practice.

If your pharmacy delivers your medicines to your home, they will still be able to do that.

We will be reducing use of prescriptions that are dispensed in instalments, because we think that method is more likely to result in wasted medicines than if people request only the repeat medicines they need from the general practice.

If you cannot request your own repeat prescription, and do not have a family member or friend who can do it for you, a number of other ways of doing it may work:

  1. if another health professional works with you, they may be able to request your prescription;
  2. we may agree that your community pharmacy can request, or continue to request, the prescription on your behalf;
  3. our practice clinical pharmacist could arrange your repeat prescriptions.

Please help us to reduce the waste of NHS money that happens when people are supplied with more medicine than they need.  If you can request your own repeat prescriptions, please do.

Be open about your medicines

  • Please tell your GP or the practice receptionist if you are not taking any of your medicines, or if you are experiencing side-effects or have other concerns about your medicines.
  • If there are medicines that don’t suit you, your GP may be able to suggest alternatives.
  • You don’t have to request every medicine on your repeat prescription list every time, if you already have enough at home.  If you use inhalers, insulin, creams or medicines that you use ‘when required’ please take particular care not to request more than you need.
  • When you collect your medicines or have them delivered, please open the bag and check them before you leave the pharmacy or before the delivery person leaves your home.  If you see medicines that you are not going to take, give them back to the pharmacist or delivery person and let the general practice know.
  • If medicines have not left the pharmacy (or the pharmacy’s delivery person) they can be dispensed for someone else.
  • After they have left the pharmacy or delivery person, if they are returned to the pharmacy they cannot be dispensed for someone else.