Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn saves £300,000 off its drugs bill

L to R, back: Ben Coley, Pharmacy Technician; Anita Franklin, Dispensary Services Manager; Dr Mojga

L to R, back: Ben Coley, Pharmacy Technician; Anita Franklin, Dispensary Services Manager; Dr Mojgan Sani, Chief Pharmacist. Front: Barbara Simpson, Pharmacy Assistant. - Credit: Archant

An efficiency programme which has helped a Norfolk Hospital to save £300,000 on its drugs bill in the last year has been nominated for a top award.

Pharmacy assistants at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn have been shortlisted for the healthcare category in the 2014 National Recycling Awards, for reducing wastage on drugs at the hospital.

The QEH scheme will be judged alongside projects submitted by seven other NHS trusts and private healthcare providers for the national scheme's Healthcare Recycler of the Year Award.

The overall winner will be announced at a special presentation evening which is being held in London in July.

Around £14m a year is spent on drugs at the hospital. But a proportion of the drugs which are prescribed to patients are returned to the pharmacy for a variety of reasons, such as patients being discharged and not needing further medication, changes to a patient's treatment plan or medicines not being transferred with a patient when they are moved to another area for treatment.

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QEH Chief Pharmacist, Dr Mojgan Sani, said: 'The NHS is facing financial challenges as never before. Every penny counts, so it is only right to minimise waste.

'For some time we have been improving prescribing to make sure it is more cost effective but it was also recognised that we needed a more efficient system to reduce the amount of medicines we have to send away to be incinerated.'

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The pharmacy team set up a process of quality assurance for recycling any medicines that were returned without been used.

These now go through a rigorous quality assessment before they are put back into the pharmacy system where possible. The process has been implemented by pharmacy assistant Barbara Simpson.

As a result the hospital pharmacy has achieved savings of more than £300,000 over the last year. Dr Sani said: 'We are delighted to have been shortlisted for an award.

'More importantly, we have made some significant savings at a time when we need every available penny to go towards patient care.'

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