A new initiative has been launched aimed at helping people who are housebound to use medicines and more effectively and reduce stockpiles of drugs in their homes.

The pilot project in Hertsmere, called ‘Don’t stockpile medicines’, is being run by a partnership between Hertsmere Borough Council, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and Hertfordshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC).

It will enable Hertsmere residents to get expert advice from an approved community pharmacist if a visiting professional such as a nurse, social worker or carer feels that they need assistance with their medication or seem to have too much in their homes.

Councillor Caroline Clapper, responsible for health and wellbeing at Hertsmere Borough Council, said: “Information gathered from patients and carers across the area suggests that prescription medicines are sometimes over-ordered ‘just in case’ they run out.

“This leads to very expensive and potentially dangerous stockpiles of medicines that have a limited life.”

Dr Catherine Page, a GP from Fairbrook Medical Centre in Borehamwood, added: “I am delighted to be involved in this project. It can be difficult for GPs to know how the medicines we prescribe are actually being used by patients, particularly those who find it difficult to come into the surgery. By working closely with the trusted professionals that go into people’s homes regularly and can spot when problems with medicines arise, we can help to improve our patients’ health and save vital funds too.”

This project has been funded by three Hertsmere councillors, Bushey North representative Jane West and Borehamwood Brookmeadow councillors Alan Plancey and Susan Brown, using their Hertfordshire County Council Locality Budgets.

Carers or healthcare professionals who would like further information on this pilot project should call Herts LPC on 01707 390095.