Unused and wasted medicines are costing the NHS in Leicestershire £5.6m a year, it has been revealed.

The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland cluster of PCTs have now launched an eight-week campaign targeting patients through posters and leaflets in GP surgeries to cut back on the waste.

The cluster wants patients to think before ordering a repeat prescription and to talk to their GP or pharmacist for advice on medicines. The cluster also wants unwanted medicines returned to local pharmacies.

Paul Danaher, speaking on behalf of the LLR PCT cluster, said: “This is an expensive problem which can only be solved by patients and the health community working together.

“Unused prescriptions cost the NHS in LLR an estimated £5.6 million each year and this is money that could be used to pay for other important health services locally.”

The cluster estimates the money could fund 219 nurses or pay for 1,510 hip replacements.