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HSE Know, Check, Ask campaign - safermeds.ie

HSE Press Release: Monday, 8th July 2019

“Know, Check, Ask” – new HSE campaign to help people keep track of their medicines

The HSE has today (Monday, 8th July 2019) launched a campaign called Know, Check, Ask and a tool for the public to help improve the safe use of medicines.  It will help people who take medicines and everyone involved in their care to make better decisions about their treatment. 

The campaign encourages people who take regular medicines, and those assisting them, to:

  • Know your medicines and keep a list, bringing it to appointments and if admitted to hospital
  • Check that you are using the right medicine the right way
  • Ask your healthcare professional if you’re unsure

According to Muriel Pate, Medication Safety Specialist Pharmacist, HSE, “Sooner or later everyone needs medication and often people can be on a number of medicines for different health conditions.  Keeping track of all of these medications can be confusing and so the HSE has developed a ‘My Medicines List’ which is available to download at www.safermeds.ie and is also available in all pharmacies around the country.  People can of course, create their own list instead or ask their pharmacy or GP practice to print a list of medicines from their records. Some people find it useful to take a photo of their list and keep it on their phone.

“Communication can be a big safety challenge in healthcare. Communication about medicines can be tricky as there can be so many details to remember.  The ‘My Medicines List’ will be of huge help, especially when people are admitted to hospital or have an appointment.  The new list will help them to communicate with healthcare professionals quickly and easily. We engaged with a lot of different people and groups when we were developing the campaign. They told us that using a medicines list can really help people, families, carers and healthcare professionals understand and communicate better and improve patient safety and health,” she said.

Welcoming the campaign, HSE National Director for Quality Improvement Dr Philip Crowley said that everyone has a role to play in medication safety and so before you prescribe, dispense or take medicine you need to make sure you know about it. “That is why the HSE – Know, Check, Ask campaign is an important part of keeping people well.    People need to check that they are using their medication in the right way and if they are unsure they should ask a health professional.   In turn, healthcare professionals should ensure that patients understand their medications.  We would like to thank the Irish Pharmacy Union and the Irish College of General Practitioners for their help and support with the campaign.”

HSE CEO, Paul Reid said that the simple actions of knowing your medicines and keeping a list, checking that you are using the right medicine the right way and asking your healthcare professional if you’re unsure, can help keep people safe. “It helps them to quickly and easily remember and share information about the medicines they are taking and making it easier to check and discuss any concerns they may have. I hope this simple message and the action of using a medicines list helps people using our services and the family, carers and health and social care professionals supporting them.”

Gordon Ryan, a recipient of a double lung transplant said that the Know, Check, Ask campaign and the My Medicines List would be of great benefit in his daily life.  “Because of the transplants I take various medicines on a daily basis and see my doctor regularly.  It’s great to have such a simple tool to help me manage my medication and it will be really useful for any of the doctors that I need to see as they will be able to instantly see what medicines I’m taking and be able to check and update my treatments as needed,” he said.

Secretary General of the IPU, Darragh O’Loughlin said, “Nearly half the Irish population lives within one kilometre of their local pharmacy, and pharmacists are the local medicines experts. The better people understand the medicines they are taking, the safer it is for them. Always talk to your local pharmacist about any medicines you’re using and any other questions you might have and, if you’re not sure, ask them for a list of your medication. Pharmacies provide a friendly accessible service at the heart of every community, and we would encourage people to have more conversations with us about their medicines.”

The HSE campaign forms part of the World Health Organisation ‘Medication without harm’ initiative which aims to reduce severe avoidable medication related harm by 50% over the next five years.

Visit www.safermeds.ie for more information.


Issued by HSE National Press Office

Tel: 01 92 139 12 / press@hse.ie

Last updated on: 05 / 07 / 2019