Plans approved to tackle prescribing costs in Angus

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The Integrated Joint Board (IJB) for the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership approved plans to tackle the increasing costs of prescribing medication across the region.

The amount of money spent on prescribing medication in Angus is higher than elsewhere in Scotland which is putting pressure on the Partnership’s ability to deliver services within its budget.

There are often complex reasons for this, including an increasing number of treatments due to earlier identification of longer term conditions, an increasing number of people living longer on multiple medications and the uptake of newer, more expensive medications.

Dr Alison Clement, clinical director for the Angus Partnership is leading on a programme of work approved by the IJB to ensure safe, effective prescribing, to examine medicines management, identify good practice and to deliver more cost effective prescribing.

Dr Clement said: “The Angus Prescribing Management Team meets monthly and is leading the development of an Angus Prescribing Workplan which includes regionally-prioritised actions along with a range of local actions.

“We are working closely with GP practices across Angus and will be visiting them over the coming weeks to carry out quality prescribing reviews, developing action plans and sharing good practice.

“I am also working in partnership with colleagues in the regional Tayside Prescribing Management Group, which is developing a five-year strategic plan. Developed in collaboration with clinical teams across Tayside, the plan aims to deliver the best possible healthcare at the lowest possible cost, delivering the best experience for patients.

“The Partnership also uses the NHS Tayside prescribing system which provides an agreed formulary for clinical staff to prescribe from to ensure the most cost-efficient and effective drug choices.

“Patients in Angus also play an important role in reducing prescribing costs in Angus. That’s why the Partnership continues to support NHS Tayside public campaigns to reduce the number of items prescribed that are partially, or never, used.”

The ‘Let’s Talk Medicines’ campaign launched locally by NHS Tayside last week 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 and only order the medication they need. This in turn should reduce the amount of medicines that people keep at home and do not take or return to their pharmacy for disposal.

Unused medicines cost the NHS in Scotland millions of pounds every year. Audit Scotland has estimated that Scotland’s avoidable drug waste bill is between £12 and £18million per year. In Angus, this would equate to approximately £400,000.

Having a medicines review with your GP will also help to make sure patients are still receiving the most appropriate medication for their condition. You should also let your GP or your pharmacist know if you have stopped taking any of your medication for any reason.