PATIENTS in Bolton store about £500,000 of unused medicine in their homes — prompting health chiefs to call for a mass spring clear out.

NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people across the borough to dispose of their unused prescription medicines as part of a safety warning.

Prescription medicines past their expiry dates pose a significant health risk if they have been prescribed to treat a serious condition.

The warning comes after the launch of the CCG’s latest campaign to stop Bolton people wasting money on prescribed medicine, which costs the NHS £1.5 million each year in Bolton alone.

Dr Stephen Liversedge, clinical director for primary care and health improvement at the CCG, said: “I recommend anyone who takes a number of regular medicines to have a ‘spring clean’ this week and dispose of any items that they no longer need.

“Stockpiling medicines at home is unsafe. The best way to avoid this is for people to only order what they need. Every prescription costs the NHS in Bolton money, whether the patient pays for their prescriptions or not. Unfortunately, many of these medicines are wasted, so this money could be better spent on other things.”

Louise Gatley, chief officer at Bolton Local Pharmaceutical Comm-ittee, added: “A medicine not taken is the most expensive medicine there is.

“Please make sure you only order what you need and don’t be afraid to not order items if you don’t need them. Your pharmacy staff will always be able to guide you.

“If you want to know more about your medicines, your pharm-acist will sit down and talk you through them and discuss any side effects. Just pop into your local pharmacy.”

Through the Hard Pill to Swallow campaign, the CCG hopes to persuade Bolton people to stop wasting antibiotics as each prescription costs the NHS money, even when they are bought by patients.

For more information, go to