Would you swallow a recycled pill?2nd March 2012
Dr David Pencheon, the director of the NHS National Development Unit, has said that recycling medicines could help to make savings within the health service.
The health service needs to ensure that £20 billion is saved, while an estimated £300 million is "wasted" on medication each year.
Dr Pencheon writes in the BBC's Scrubbing Up column that the cutbacks the health service needs to make are the same as a person losing a fifth of their salary by 2015.
He says the NHS must become more sustainable and the same attitude that makes a person recycle items and turn off lights should be extended to medicines in the health service.
Dr Pencheon explains that the largest savings could be made from decreasing the amount of drugs wasted in the NHS, with an estimated £89 million in savings achieved by reducing drugs wastage by 2.5%.
In a poll his team found around half the 1,000 respondents - 52% - said they would take pills that had been given back unused by other patients.
He writes: "The fact that the public are thinking more positively about recycling medicines should be welcomed. It shows that people have a great deal of faith in their health service, despite headlines to the contrary, and that they want to help the NHS become more cost effective and more sustainable."
"Sustainability therefore must become core to the way the NHS operates and be part of every decision making process if it is to be truly fit for the future."
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