Cost of sleeping pills to NHS almost £50 million

The cost of a good night’s sleep to the NHS has almost hit £50 million, with more resorting to pills due to job worries brought on by the recession.Cost of sleeping pills to NHS almost £50 millionFigures released by the NHS Business Services Authority show England’s 152 primary care trusts (PCTs) spent £49.2 million on sleeping pills in 2010-11, up 17 percent in just four years.

That meant pharmacies dispensed more than 15.2 million prescriptions to aid sleep, roughly one for every three adults.

The NHS in England is now spending £1.20 per head per year on sleeping pills, according to the figures, obtained by The Co-operative Pharmacy via a freedom of information request.

Mandeep Mudhar, NHS business director at the pharmacy chain, said the recession was likely to have made people more anxious, increasing sleeping problems.

He said: “Sleep patterns can be affected by physical or psychological factors and the continued economic downturn is a likely cause for the increased use of sleeping pills because of the heightened stress, anxiety and worry levels people face as a result of job insecurity or money worries.”

He continued: “While usage has risen steadily, the costs to the NHS have risen disproportionately, with costs going up at a greater rate.”

He advised against long-term use of some sleeping pill.

“Some sleeping drugs are only recommended for short term use because they can lead to psychological dependency and lose their effectiveness over time,” he said.

“We would urge people who are suffering with insomnia or their use of sleeping pills to discuss their concerns with a pharmacist or their doctor.”

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