A HOSPITAL is telling patients to show up for surgery with their own painkillers.
But since July, Watford General has been asking them to buy the over-the-counter drugs in advance. The approach is now being adopted at sister hospital St Albans City.
And some patients treated in A&E could also be asked to pay for over-the-counter medicines to take at home.
The West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust estimates it will save £1,500 a year and speed up discharge times as patients will not have to wait to be given the pills.
Issuing the drugs costs the NHS £8.80 but paracetamol can be bought for as little as 25p for 16 caplets over the counter.
However, local Andy Turpie said: “This could be the thin end of the wedge.”
The Trust’s chief pharmacist Martin Keble said: “Patients see it as an opportunity to help the NHS save some money.
The Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group said the move will only apply to planned procedures and when discussed with a patient.
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