Friday, 2 May 2014

'Take a fresh look' at medicines

People in the Three Towns who take regular medication are being urged to have a fresh look at their medicines to help ensure they get the best possible care.

Organised by NHS Ayrshire & Arran, the Let’s Talk Medicines campaign encourages those on repeat prescriptions to look again at the medicines they take and to speak with their pharmacist or GP if they have any questions or concerns.

Michele Caldwell, Director of Pharmacy for NHS Ayrhsire & Arran, 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 they may 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.”

The Health Board points out that people ask their local pharmacist for advice about medicines bought over the counter, like common treatments for colds and flu, but often don't realise they can also raise questions relating to prescription medication.

Carers who pick up prescriptions for a member of their family are also being encouraged to ask their local pharmacist if the patient is taking their medicines correctly. NHS Ayrshire & Arran says this is particularly important for older patients who are taking several medicines.

Harry McQuillan, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland, said, “We support this new campaign as it encourages people to make use of the expert advice and information available from their local pharmacy team. It also encourages people to take greater ownership, interest and responsibility for the medicines they take, which supports the wider move towards greater self-management by helping patients become more informed about their own health and treatment.

“This, in turn, will help improve the safety of patients by reducing many of the risks associated with not taking medication correctly, as well as improving efficiency by reducing the number of prescriptions issued for medicines that may no longer be required.”

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