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NI chief pharmacist launches medicine safety campaign


NI chief pharmacist launches medicine safety campaign

Pharmacist Aisling Elliott and CPhO Cathy Harrison

Northern Ireland chief pharmaceutical officer Cathy Harrison has launched a campaign encouraging the public to take their prescribed medicines in a safe and effective way.

The ‘Know, Check, Ask’ campaign, which launched on May 19 in over 500 community pharmacies, seeks to reinforce three key messages around the safe use of medicines:

  •          KNOW your medicines and keep an up-to-date list
  •          CHECK that you are using your medicines in the right way.
  •          ASK your healthcare professional if you’re not sure.

Mrs Harrison said: “In Northern Ireland, we are fortunate to benefit from effective systems for the safe prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines. Our health service has developed these robust systems over many years to ensure medication safety is a top priority for everyone receiving and providing care within the health and social system.

“However, we know that errors can still occur and we are committed to supporting improvements that aim to reduce or prevent the risk of harm to patients. The Know, Check, Ask campaign will support that by helping to equip people with the knowledge and skills they need to be safe with medication.

“I’m encouraging everyone who takes medication regularly to be more involved in decisions about their medication and encourage them to report or discuss issues and concerns with a healthcare professional.

“People should always follow the directions on the medicine label and take medicines at the right dose and at the right time of day.

“They should never stop, reduce or increase their medicines without asking a healthcare professional and they should never share medicines with others.”

Community pharmacist Aisling Elliott added: “Keeping a list of medications, including other medicines or supplements you have bought, such as vitamins or herbal medicines, helps community pharmacists, healthcare professionals and care givers know what medicines you are taking. 

“Bringing an up-to-date list of your medicines to healthcare appointments and the pharmacy visits helps us to give you the best advice and helps you get the best out of your medicines.

“Some people find it useful to take a photo of their medications list and keep it on their phone or take photographs of their medications with the label in full view”.

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