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... before the Spring bank holiday weekend

Local doctors are urging patients to check they have enough medicines to see them through the long spring bank holiday weekend at the end of May.

If you need new supplies, be sure to order them in enough time to collect before the weekend.  The three-day weekend means most GP practices will close on the evening of Friday 25 May and won’t open again until Tuesday 29 May, when they are likely to be much busier than usual.

While checking to see if you have enough medicines, why not ‘spring clean’ your medicines cupboard?  Check whether you already have more than one month’s supply of any item that you need to take regularly.  If so, hold off re-ordering, because medicines have a ‘use by’ date and stockpiling medicines can be dangerous to other family members, particularly children.  Remember that you don’t need to order a medicine every month to keep it on your repeat prescription list.

National research data suggests that around £3 million a year is being spent on medicines prescribed to East and North Hertfordshire patients, which are not used. 

GPs are concerned that some patients are not taking all their medicines, or taking them incorrectly, and haven’t told their doctor.

“It’s really important that patients take the medicines prescribed for them,” said Dr Ash Shah, Hertfordshire GP and prescribing lead for East and North Hertfordshire CCG.

“If for some reason you are not taking a medicine that has been prescribed, tell a GP, pharmacist or nurse, because it could be having a serious impact on your health.  If a medicine doesn’t agree with you, we may be able to prescribe an alternative.”

Dr Shah reminded patients:  “If you have a supply of unwanted or out-of-date medicines, you must return them to a pharmacy so that they can be safely destroyed.  Never put medicines into the bin or flush them away.”

There will be a pharmacy open near you over the May bank holiday weekend.  Download the rota here.  Find your nearest pharmacy on the NHS website,

NHS 111 is there for you if you urgently need health advice and your normal GP surgery is closed. Calls are free and NHS 111 advisers will find you the best service for your needs.