THE area's biggest hospitals are saving more than £80,000 a year by wasting less of the most commonly prescribed medicine - oxygen.

Colchester Hospitals Trust uses one million litres of oxygen a day.

In 2007, staff were wasting 319 cylinders of oxygen a day but that figure has now dropped to just six after after 2,500 nursing, pharmacy and midwifery staff got extra training.

In 2010, the trust spent £272,600 on medical gases. That was expected to fall to £190,000 last year, even though Colchester General and Essex County hospitals treated more patients.