Northern Ireland

More spent on prescriptions in Northern Ireland

pills Image copyright SPL
Image caption About £18m was wasted on prescription medicines last year, it is claimed

Prescription medicines cost the health service in Northern Ireland significantly more per patient than the rest of the UK.

Dr Terry Maguire, chair of the Belfast commissioning group of the Health and Social Care Board, said the cost per patient in Northern Ireland was £224.

That is £40 more than in Scotland and £60 more than England.

Last year 38.7m prescription items were dispensed at a cost of £400m across Northern Ireland.

Of this, an estimated £18m was spent on medicines that were ordered on prescription but were never used, according to Dr Maguire.

He said: "If everyone played their part by cancelling unwanted repeat prescriptions and only ordering what they need, it would help save the health service millions.

"Spending on medicines is important but we need to ask ourselves if it would be better to spend this money in other ways, such as improving how we use medicines and services that stop people becoming ill in the first place?

"Transforming Your Care is working to ensure that the health service can continue to meet changing patient needs and provide services that are high quality, sustainable and provide value for money and better patient outcomes.

"But if Transforming Your Care is to succeed we all need to start thinking critically what we as individuals can do to make the best use of our health service."

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