NHS organisations across the North East have launched a campaign aimed at helping older patients to better understand their medicines, improve how well they take and look after their medicine, which helps to manage their health condition and feel better for it.
Targeting North East patients over 60 years old with long term medical conditions, ‘My Medicines, My Health’ urges people to value the medicine they have been prescribed for their health condition by keeping them safe together in one place and in one bag or a container – and take them with them for key medical appointments such as visits to hospital.
The campaign introduces the idea of a Green Medicine Bag as a key way of doing this – although any bag would do as long as medicines are kept together in one easy place.
NHS Newcastle Gateshead Alliance secondary care clinician, Dr Bill Cunliffe, who is a retired consultant surgeon and medical director for Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, explained the campaign was to help older people who might have several long term health issues, therefore on several medicines at once.
He said: “We all want to stay healthy so we can carry on doing the things we enjoy in life. To stay healthy, it’s important that you take all your medicines in the right way – and at the right time.
“If you are over 60 and have long-term health conditions, you probably take a lot of different medicines, both prescribed and otherwise. We understand that keeping up with them as they often change, especially when you visit the doctor, have a hospital admission or even visit the pharmacy, can sometimes be challenging.
“To help you keep all your medicines together in one place and keep on top of what medicines you are actually taking, we are now encouraging all patients over 60 in the region to use a Green Medicine Bag, or simply one bag or a container – and keep them safe in one place.”
Dr Cunliffe continued: “We can tell a lot about you by seeing the medicines you are actually taking, including any you may buy from a supermarket, pharmacy or herbal shop and take regularly. This helps us understand how to treat you and make sure you are getting the most out of your medicine.
“Because some medicines can interact, it’s crucial that all your prescribed and non-prescribed medicines are in one place so that medical staff can see what you are taking.
“Get into the habit of using a bag like the Green Medicine Bag. Tell family members and anyone who cares for you where you keep it, so it can easily be found in an emergency.”
My Medicines, My Health campaign has been funded by the region’s 12 NHS clinical commissioning groups and is supported by the North East’s major NHS organisations including hospital and mental health trusts and the ambulance service.
The campaign will be on regional TV adverts, radio, social media, and in shopping centres.