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Here's joke about paper...

It's tear-able.

Crying with laughter aren't you? I'll tell you what else is terrible: wasted paper. Not a laughing matter. My pioneering Reception colleague Gillie and I are on a bit of a paper mission. We've just counted out the paper prescription requests at our Bishopthorpe site, and the average over the last 3 days was 54 pieces of paper! And that's our smaller site.

NHS produces a lot of paper and cardboard. Leaflets, prescriptions, appointment letters, paper towels, packaging for common items like syringes, tablets and inhalers, the list really is endless. But did you know that if the NHS recycled all of these paper-based products, we could reduce CO2 emissions by the same amount as taking 17,000 cars off the road. 17 thousand cars.

Over recent years GP surgeries have really tried to reduce paper, and instead make use of our computer software to try to cut down on, well, cutting down trees. Here's how you can help us:

  • Please make prescription requests online rather than filling in a paper slip.

  • If we offer you a leaflet, you could read it and return it, or better still, consider writing down the weblink instead. This would really get you a figurative gold star (definitely not a paper one)

  • Instead of asking for printouts, why not view results and clinic letters online? Just ask our lovely Practice Manager Andrea Gibbon who is very canny with the electronic record and can sort just about everything computer-related (like the time I broke Dr Gurnell's printer and she fixed it in two seconds. She really did).

And finally, did you know that electronic prescribing doesn't save paper? Yes, I share your shock and frustration here. Whilst there is no 'green prescription' for you to take to the Pharmacist, they still print out the info at the other end so that they can safely check your medication. If this bothers you as well, please speak to your Pharmacist and find out what they are doing to reduce paper. We can all do more!

Next week: 'social prescribing'. You've heard of it, but what actually is it? I promise to enlighten you...

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