Let’s Talk Medicines

People across Forth Valley who take regular medication are being urged to take a fresh look at the medicines they take as part of a new campaign to make sure they are getting the best possible care.

The ‘Let’s Talk Medicines’ campaign, which was launched today, encourages people on repeat prescriptions to look again at the medicines they take and speak to their pharmacist or GP if they have any questions or concerns.

Gail Caldwell, Director of Pharmacy, NHS Forth Valley, explained: “Many people may have been taking the same repeat prescription for a while and may be unsure how effective it is or even if the medicines are still required.

“We know many patients, especially those who are taking several different medicines, may be unsure why each medicine has been prescribed or how often they should be taking it. Others may experience side effects that they are worried about or have stopped taking certain medicines as they no longer think they need them but have never mentioned this to their pharmacist or GP. Whatever the issue we want people to know that it’s always ok to ask.”

Paula Harvey, a local Stirling pharmacist who features in the new campaign, added: “Many people will ask their local pharmacist for advice about medicines bought over the counter like common treatments for colds and flu however they often don’t realise that they can also talk to their pharmacist about any prescription medication they are taking.

“Carers who pick up prescriptions for a member of their family can also get advice from their pharmacist if they have any questions or concerns or to make sure that the patient is taking their medicines correctly.  This is particularly important for older patients who are taking several medicines as it’s easy to get confused about how often they should be taking each one.”

Harry McQuillan, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland, said: “We support this new campaign as it encourages people to make use of the expert advice and information available from their local pharmacy team, including their local pharmacist. It also encourages people to take greater ownership, interest and responsibility for the medicines they take which supports the wider move towards greater self-management by helping patients become more informed about own health and treatment.”

“This in turn will help improve the safety of patients by reducing many of the risks associated with not taking your medication correctly as well as improving efficiency by reducing the number of prescriptions issued for medicines which may no longer be required.”

The new campaign, which has been developed by West of Scotland NHS Boards, features posters which will be displayed in community pharmacies across Scotland and a six week press and radio advertising campaign across the West of Scotland.