Northern Ireland

£2.3m initiative to help the public better manage their medicines

Around 30-50% of people with long term conditions do not take their medicines as prescribed
Image caption Around 30-50% of people with long term conditions do not take their medicines as prescribed

More than £2m is to be invested in an initiative to advise the public on how to manage their medicines better.

The project is part of a Department of Health initiative aimed at transforming how health is being delivered across Northern Ireland.

A £30m 'Transformation Fund' was announced by the Health Minister Simon Hamilton in November 2015.

It will be invested in initiatives focused on innovation and collaboration within health and social care.

First to benefit from the fund are people who regularly use medicines.

A sum of £2.3m will be spent on advising them on how to store, manage and take their medication correctly.

It is understood around 30-50% of people with long term conditions do not take their medicines as prescribed.

Those people could be treated for conditions like asthma, epilepsy, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Waste

One in five hospital admissions are medicines related and an estimated £18m worth of medicines are wasted each year.

Mr Hamilton said the funding would help transform how services are delivered.

"There are over 39 million prescription items supplied each year, and medicines cost our health service a total of over £550m each year."

Mr Hamilton said evidence shows that people do not always gain the expected benefits from their treatment.

"One in 15 hospital admissions are medicines related, and an estimated £18m worth of medicines are wasted annually.

"Taking the correct medicines can not only transform a person's health but it can also save lives.

"The right doses and combination of medicines can lower a person's chances of admission or re-admission to hospital and can reduce the length of stay in hospital."

Mr Hamilton said that tackling these issue should also help tackle managing the health budget.

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