Members of the public are being encouraged to only order the medication they need over the festive period to prevent medicines being wasted.

Medicine waste has become an increasing issue over a number of years, and there are steps that members of the community can take to help ensure that medication is not going to waste.

Over public holidays, such as the festive break, local patients are being asked in particular not to request double prescriptions from their GPs. You can always contact your GP Practice at a later date to order a repeat prescription.

Before requesting a prescription, take a look in your medicine cabinet to see what you actually need – you may not require another prescription at this stage. You may have ordered extra of a repeat prescription last time and forgot. Or, you may not have used all the different medications in your prescription.

Even if you never open them, once you leave a pharmacy with your medication, your medicines cannot be recycled or used by anyone else. This means that even if you return them, they have to be destroyed. Unused prescriptions cost the NHS across the UK over £300million every year.

This could fund

  • 11,778 new community nurses or
  • 80,906 MORE hip replacements…or
  • 101,351 MORE knee replacements…or
  • 19,799 MORE drug treatment courses for breast cancer…or
  • 300,000 MORE drug treatment courses for Alzheimer's

It’s also important to let your GP or Pharmacist know if you’ve stopped taking any of your medicines


  • Check what medicines you still have at home before re-ordering
  • Discuss your medication with your GP or Pharmacist on a regular basis
  • Don’t ask for double prescriptions
  • Think carefully before ticking all the boxes on your repeat prescription forms and only tick those you really need
  • If you don’t need the medicine please don’t order it! If you need the medicine in the future you can still request it.
  • If you need to go into hospital, please remember to take all your medicines with you in a clearly marked bag.
  • Please also remember that your medicines are prescribed only for you; it’s not safe to share them with anyone else.