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What are you taking that medicine?

That's a question which NHS Western Isles is going to be asking islanders who take regular medication, prescription and non-prescription.

They want people to take a fresh look at the medicines they take as part of a new campaign to make sure they are getting the best possible care. 

It's perfectly possible that the medicines may not be needed any more.  

The ‘Let’s Talk Medicines’ campaign, which launches during November, encourages people on repeat prescriptions to look again at the medicines they take and speak to their pharmacist or GP if they have any questions or concerns. 

The campaign, which will be held over three months, will feature a different medication aspect: waste/amnesty (November);hospital green bags (December); and issues/concerns (January). 

Natalie Bowling, NHS Western Isles Lead Primary Care Pharmacist, explained: “Many people may have been taking the same repeat prescription for a while and may be unsure how effective it is or even if the medicines are still required. 

“We know many patients, especially those who are taking several different medicines, may be unsure why each medicine has been prescribed or how often they should be taking it. Others may experience side-effects that they are worried about or have stopped taking certain medicines as they no longer think they need them but have never mentioned this to their pharmacist or GP. Whatever the issue we want people to know that it’s always ok to ask.” 

Erinn Nicolson, Community Pharmacist at Stornoway’s K.J. MacDonald Pharmacy Ltd, and who also features in the new campaign, added: “Many people will ask their local pharmacist for advice about medicines bought over-the-counter like common treatments for colds and flu – however they often don’t realise that they can also talk to their pharmacist about any prescription medication they are taking. 

“Carers who pick up prescriptions for a member of their family can also get advice from their pharmacist if they have any questions or concerns or to make sure that the patient is taking their medicines correctly.  This is particularly important for older patients who are taking several medicines as it’s easy to get confused about how often they should be taking each one.” 

The campaign will feature local staff who work within different areas of pharmacy teams, comprising community, primary care and hospital.  Posters will displayed at GP Practices, hospital and community pharmacies. 

If you are not sure what your medicines are for, or you are worried about using them, please talk to your GP Practice, Community Pharmacist.  Alternatively contact your GP Practice to make an appointment with the Primary Care Pharmacy team. 

Healthcare is always changing... it’s always OK to ask, says NHSWI.