THOUSANDS of people in Southampton are putting their health at risk by failing to take their medicines properly, a study has revealed.

So in a bid to ensure the safe taking of medicines by patients, health bosses are urging people to use the NHS New Medicines Service (NMS) based in pharmacies across Hampshire.

It aims to give extra support to patients who are prescribed a new medicine for long-term conditions, with free consultations and phone calls to ensure they are keeping up with their regime.

Pharmacies in Southampton and across England have been funded to provide this service since October 2011, and a new analysis of data recorded by them has shown that 18.2 per cent of patients were not taking their medicine as it had been prescribed.

However, after the patients received advice from their pharmacist, the proportion fell to just over 10 per cent not taking their medicine correctly, indicating that the pharmacy service made a big difference to many patients.