RESIDENTS throughout the Braintree district are being urged to stop wasting medicine and help save the NHS millions of pounds.

Figures released by the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) show an estimated £2million worth of medicines is wasted in the Braintree, Maldon and Chelmsford districts every year.

To combat the issue, health bosses has launched a new campaign called Your Medicines, Your NHS which aims to highlight the impact of wasting health aids.

According to the CCG, saving £2million would help cover the cost for either 566 hip replacements, 139 more chemotherapy courses for breast cancer patients or 61 community nurses.

A spokesman said: "The easiest way we can save money is to make sure we open the bag when a pharmacist gives us our prescribed medicines.

"That allows us to hand back anything we don't need – and medicines that have not yet left a pharmacy can be reused.

"We should also make sure we order only the medicines we will use, as anything we return to a pharmacy after taking it home must be destroyed – even un-opened packs."

Data shows that around half the medication returned to pharmacies has not been opened, which means patients are ordering it but don’t use any of it.

Those who keep a stock of medicines are also said to be causing a safety risk as the aids may be taken by someone else or when they are out of date.

Paula Wilkinson, Chief Pharmacist for Mid Essex CCG, said: “We are encouraging everyone to reduce medicines wastage. Things can change between putting in your request for repeat medicines and when you collect them. So play your part – ‘Open the Bag’ and hand back any medicines that you don’t need.

“Get involved by making a pledge to support the campaign or joining the conversation on social media using the hashtags #OpenTheBag and #MedicinesWaste.”

To pledge your support for the campaign simply download a pledge from the CCG website at and share across Facebook, Twitter and or Instagram tagging @MidEssexCCG and using the hashtags #OpenTheBag and #MedicinesWaste.