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MPN Voice
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Has anyone else experienced ridiculous waste in the NHS? (this is relevant to us all - read on)

This is my kitchen table, measuring 8ft x3ft and covered in unused sealed dressings left by district nurses who treated my mother's leg following a carcinoma.

The green blobs that you can see are Sorbat dressings ( 5 to a pack) and retail at approx £1.20 per blob. I have 280 of them. The rest of the dressings total around £100. Total around £380 waste. I can't of course return them. My question is, why are district nurses allowed to take and leave so many, when clearly they're not needed?

In the foreground is an arm brace, cost approx £140. It is a single use brace. I understand that for hygiene reasons they may not be reusable. (My husband had a triad break in his arm, a torn ligament and a dislocated elbow. After 9 days in a cast, and 10 days in this brace, and following advice of orthopod at Royal Lancaster Hospital he was still in great discomfort and could barely move his arm.

We sought the advice of a private surgeon at Wrightington who ONLY "does" elbows. Prof Watts comment " I don't like casts or braces Steve, do you mind if I take it off"

Steve was then given 2 simple exercises to do every hour for 5 days. Within 48 hours the pain had gone and he was playing his guitar again. My next question at the follow up appt was - why don't all orthpods sing from the same hymn sheet? Watts replied " that's a very good question, why indeed?" My husband had an expensive cast and an an even more expensive brace. All unnecessarily.

Friend in Cheltenham ( worth a bob or two I might add) is overweight with high blood pressure - he was offered free gym membership - courtesy of the NHS - for 6 months.

This is all money wasted ladies and gents which could be redirected to the treatment of cancer patients and other patients, and yet the NHS constantly pleads poverty.

How much more waste is there? Millions of pounds worth that's how much.

If no one does anything then nothing will change. We now hear that an extra 2.5 billion is being channeled into the black hole of the NHS. Doubtless this too will be frittered away unless the management system changes.

13 Replies

NHS WASTE. Yes, it's disgraceful. I have taken back unused and unopened medicine to my pharmacy to be told that once it leaves the pharmacy it must be disposed of. I have also been told that wheelchairs are left in a pile and never used again, as are walking sticks. I wonder who we should be contacting. Mary


Thanks Mary, I thought I was a lone voice in the wilderness.

I phoned the telegraph today and sent the photo and a, waiting for a call back, otherwise I'll try the mail.

Scandalous, their emust be thousands of people with the same views as us.


NHS WASTE. HI Loubpv. Good for you. Keep me posted?Mary


I think it depends on whether they think it will make a better story than the NHS pleading poverty....... makes me so hopping mad.

My mother was in hospital for 3 weeks earlier this year. Long story short I complained about various aspects of her treatment - nothing major, but one was the grim food.

I had a meeting last week with the patient liaison people, deputy matron and catering manager.

Do you know what the budget is per person per day for food? £12.

TWELVE POUNDS? 30% of that goes on staffing so she said, leaving £8.

I don't spend £8 on food each a day, and I certainly didn't see it on any plate put in front of my mother. Where's the money going?


Yep. The same before my mother passed away. An entire black bin bag of unopened surgical dressings etc, thrown away as they cannot be used for another patient, despite being in sealed packaging! The problem definitely lays with mismanagement.


Just a little thing but I refused a renewal of aspirin on my prescription when I found out what it costs the NHS, I was told around £10. I bought a tub of 100 for £1.39.


Where did you buy a tub of 100? I'm only ever able to buy 3 packs at a time.



I got it in Boots, 75mg tablets.


Wow, thank you.

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I have experienced similar waste in France.

Ended up giving my bandages etc to a private visiting nurse to put to good use.

The most shocking was when I had to throw out a box of Jakavi at the start of my 'MPN journey' (after 3 pills from a 56 pill box) - £3500 worth!! Little did I know that 18 months later they'd be of use to fight my GVHD.

I take some of the more expensive products (expensive, not immediately available pills etc used in SCT follow-up) back to the hospital since they find useful in the cases where out-patients have forgotten their pills for the day.

I agree though, there is a lot of waste.

I always try to procure just the right amount to bide me over to the next appointment just in case my treatment changes.

Take care.



Hi Gary,

Thanks for your reply. How's sunny France? We're nearly floating away here in the Lakes - I drove through a puddle on the road the other day and a tidal wave sloshed over the bonnet! Needless to say, deeper than I thought.....

Have sent photos to the papers but nobody is interested.



Hi Judy,

How are you?

I always buy the tummy friendly coated aspirin in packs from Boots. Yellow packet.




Hi Louise, I am good thanks.

I don't actually take aspirin as I am on clopidogrel, but I do have paracetamol on prescription. My thinking was, that if aspirin was available in large quantities then paracetamol may be as well. I'll have to look into it.

I hope you are not too wet? I've heard about all the rain in Cumbria!

Judy xx