Check before you order essential repeat medicines this Easter

With the four-day Easter bank holiday fast approaching, local doctors are urging patients to check they have enough medicines to see them through the holiday period.

If you need new supplies, be sure to order them in enough time to collect before Good Friday (30 March). The extra-long bank holiday weekend means that most GP practices will close on the evening of Thursday 29 March and won’t open again until Tuesday morning (3 April) when they are likely to be much busier than usual.

National research data suggests that around £3 million a year is being spent on medicines prescribed to patients in west Hertfordshire which are not used.

While checking to see if you have enough medicines, why not ‘spring clean’ your medicines cupboard? Check whether you already have more than one month’s supply of any item that you need to take regularly. If so, hold off re-ordering, because medicines have a ‘use by’ date and stockpiling medicines can be dangerous to other family members, particularly children. Remember that you don’t need to order a medicine every month to keep it on your repeat prescription list.

GPs are concerned that some patients are not taking all their medicines, or taking them incorrectly, and don’t always tell their doctor.

Dr Clair Moring, Board GP Watford and Three Rivers and Clinical Lead for medicines optimisation at NHS Herts Valleys CCG said: “It’s really important that patients take the medicines prescribed for them. If for some reason you are not taking a medicine that has been prescribed, tell a GP, pharmacist or nurse, because it could be having a serious impact on your health.”

If you have a supply of unwanted or out-of-date medicines, remember you must return them to a pharmacy so that they can be safely destroyed. Never put medicines into the bin or flush them away.