Over 1 billion pills taken in 2013

Words: Tanya Geddes

A report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) issued today, found the NHS spent over £15 billion on prescriptive medicines in England in 2013, the second highest area of spending.

In England, in 2013, over1 billion prescription items were dispensed, an average of 2.7 million items a day.

43% of men and 50% of women had taken at least one prescribed medicine in the last week.

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Photo Credit: Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)

Income

Those with the lowest incomes took more medication (53% of men and 58% of women) in the last week than those with higher incomes (: 39% of men and 43% of women.)

Shift Work

Those that worked outside 7am to 7pm in their main job suffered ill health due to disruption of the internal clock (circadian rhythms), which interfered with the production of melatonin. They also suffered disturbed sleep and fatigue.

The highest group that did shift work was 16-24-year-olds (almost half of men and over a third of women.)

Shift workers were more likely than non-shift workers to be obese and have a higher BMI (body mass index.)

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Photo Credit: Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)

They were more likely to have diabetes (10% of both men and women in shift work, compared with 9% and 7% respectively of others).

Dr Gerald Westhoff GP, Carmarthen, South West Wales said “those with type 2 diabetes are often on five drugs plus expensive blood monitoring sticks.”

They were also more likely to smoke (28% of men and 26% of women compared to 23% of men and 15% of women in employment).

Being Overweight

In 2013, 67% of men and 57% of women were either overweight or obese. These figures were similar to recent years.

Being overweight was more common than obesity (41% of men and 33% of women being overweight but not obese.)

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Photo Credit: Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)

Jee Eng Foo a community care nurse in North London said, “People who are overweight often find it difficult managing healthy, balanced diets.”

“They eat too many sugary, processed foods and lack time. They also have poor nutritional education.”

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