Pharmacists and GPs in Dorset are urging people to only order the medication they need from their repeat prescriptions.

Around 50,000 people in Dorset have repeat prescriptions for multiple medications every month. It is estimated that 1.6 million repeat prescription items are wasted unnecessarily in Dorset each year.

NHS Dorset have launched a new campaign asking people to check their order to help reduce waste and save money.

Peter Cope, Head of Medicines Optimisation at NHS Dorset and who previously worked as a community pharmacist said,

“We want to remind people about how important it is check what medicines you have at home before placing their repeat prescription order.

“Repeat prescriptions cost the local NHS around £10 million a month, and we know that a significant amount of these medicines are not used.  With the support of our people and communities, we hope that we can make a difference to amount of unused medicines.

“We have learned that ordering unnecessary medication can increase the risk of medicines shortages in pharmacies and we want to make sure that essential medications are available to those who need them the most.   We want people to have the right medicine and the right care, while reducing the amount of medicine waste.

“Thank you to the many people who already do this.”

Keren Fooks, a Poole resident, is already conscientious about only ordering medication that is needed. With a nursing background, Keren shares some of her tips to do this,

“I support family members with ordering their medication and I am always aware of only ordering what is needed. It can be challenging but I have a few tips for other people which have helped me, and the friends and family I support:

“Keep all your medication in one location in the house, so you can see what you have left and what you need

“For each prescription, take medication from one pill packet at a time so that you can keep a track of what you’ve taken and what you have left

“Make a note on your calendar two weeks before your prescription due date to go through your medication and see what is left

“Being organised in this way means that if bank holidays or weekends are coming up, you will have planned enough for these dates too

“I find that it can be challenging supporting someone with dementia or other cognitive conditions to do this, but remember it is safer for this person to have their prescriptions organised and managed in this way, with their consent.”

If you have questions about your prescription or need some support, speak to your pharmacy team.

Unused or out of date medicines can be returned to your pharmacy for safe disposal.

To see the campaign and for more information visit

You can listen to an audio of Peter Cope, Head of Medicines Optimisation at NHS Dorset and previous community pharmacist here: