Page last updated at 08:36 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 09:36 UK

NHS Herefordshire plea to patients to use prescriptions

Prescription drugs
Waste prescriptions cost NHS Herefordshire 1 million a year

Patients in Herefordshire are being urged to cancel unnecessary repeat prescriptions which cost the NHS at least £1m a year.

The county's primary care trust said returned pills and creams have to be incinerated as they cannot be reused.

The trust said £1m could fund 140 heart bypass operations or 30 more community nurses.

It is urging hospital patients to bring prescribed drugs with them to cut down on waste.

Sue Hickman, a pharmacist with the trust, told BBC Hereford & Worcester: "That £1m could be used to buy more useful things rather than just burning it.

"I think some people don't appreciate that medicines do have a value and think that because it is free it doesn't matter, they'll have some more just in case.

"They don't worry about the fact there is a cost attached to them."

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