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Medicine Waste Reduction - Ash Ward

By: Ashford & St Peter’s Hospital NHS Trust


432kg CO2e

Goal: The aims of the project were to reduce wasted medicine and save staff time on medicine orders.

Background: The Team Leader identified that Ash Ward was wasting significant amounts of medicine and staff time on medicine orders. They decided to tackle the issue my addressing medicine order procedures and auditing medicine wastage.


  1. The medicine cupboard was redesigned to help ease storage procedures and patient own medication.

  2. Montelukast was set a TTO prelabelled pack, meaning that patients did not have to return to the ward to

    collect it. This cut down on pharmacy time and saved time for patients,

  3. Antibiotic was kept in the fridge and stored for all patients, reducing antibiotic wastage.

  4. Changes were communicated to all staff on the ward.


Medicine waste data was collected at baseline and again after the changes. Before changes, 92 medicine orders, not including inhalers, were wasted over six weeks. After the change, this number dropped to 25 over six weeks. The savings project across a year equate to 558 medication orders. Assuming a cost £5 per average medication order, this would create yearly savings of around £2,791. Using the SDU pharmaceuticals carbon conversion factor, this amounts to 432 kgCO2e. Carbon and cost savings do not take into account waste disposal as the information was not available at the time of writing. Unfortunately, exact time saving data is not yet available, however these would significantly add to savings and have been qualitatively noticed on the ward in terms of staff satisfaction. The total yearly savings for this project could be around £2,791 and 432 kgCO2e.

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare runs the Green Ward Competition as a clinical engagement programme for NHS Trusts wishing to improve their environmental sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint.

Olivia Bush, olivia.bush@sustainablehealthcare.org.uk