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Friday, 16 June, 2000, 00:43 GMT 01:43 UK
Home medicine cabinets 'poorly stocked'
Many homes have a poorly stocked medicine cabinet
Many people are putting their health at risk because they are not equipped to deal with accident and ailments in the home, according to research.

A survey by Norwich Union Healthcare found that eight out of 10 GPs believe that patients are not sufficiently prepared for minor incidents and illnesses in the home.

Two-thirds of GPs surveyed said having a well-equipped medicine cabinet in the house would help reduce unnecessary visits to the doctor and relieve pressure on the NHS.

The survey found:

  • More than half of people surveyed would not be able to tell how high their temperature is, as they do not have a thermometer
  • Over a third have no sun screen at home
  • Two-thirds have no antihistamines for allergic reactions and runny noses
  • A quarter do not have antiseptic
  • One in 10 do not have basic items such as aspirin or paracetamol
The survey also found that one person in four may have medication at home which is out of date - and 70% do not know how to dispose of out-of-date medications correctly.

Dr Doug Wright, clinical development manager at Norwich Union Healthcare, said: "Our research shows that people often make visits to their GP for illnesses or ailments that could be treated in the home.

Dr Simon Fradd
Dr Simon Fradd said every home should have basic drugs

"Buying the essentials for a properly stocked medicine cabinet is not expensive or difficult."

Dr Simon Fradd, chairman of the Doctor Patient Partnership, said: "One of the main advantages of self-medication is the ability to seek immediate symptomatic relief.

"To achieve this everyone must have a few basic drugs and appliances in their medicine cupboard."

Norwich Union Healthcare has produced a Family Pharmacy guide. Free copies are available on Freefone 0800 056 3204.

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30 Jun 99 | Health
Remedy for patient ignorance
30 Jun 98 | Latest news
Public urged to self-medicate
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