New HSE tool helps people manage their medicines

By June Shannon Heart News   |   9th Jul 2019

New HSE campaign Know, Check, Ask will help people keep track of their medicines and ensure they are taking them as prescribed.

People with heart disease or those recovering from a stroke may have to take a number of tablets every day to keep them well and keeping track of all these different medications can be confusing.

Therefore the news that the HSE has developed a new resource to help people manage their medicines in an easy and safe way is very welcome.

Launched this week, the new campaign called ‘Know, Check, Ask,’ will help people who take medicines, and all those involved in their care including their doctors, 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 and Ask your healthcare professional if you are unsure.

As part of the campaign the HSE has developed a ‘My Medicines List’ which can be downloaded at and is also available in all pharmacies around the country.

“ The ‘My Medicines List’ will be of huge help, especially when people are admitted to hospital or have an appointment,"

Ms Muriel Pate, Medication Safety Specialist Pharmacist,, HSE

People can also make their own list instead or ask their pharmacist or GP to print a list of their medicines from their records. Some people find it useful to take a photo of their list and keep it on their phone.

According to Ms Muriel Pate, Medication Safety Specialist Pharmacist, HSE, “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.”

Welcoming the campaign, HSE National Director for Quality Improvement, Dr Philip Crowley, said, 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,” Dr Crowley said.

“ We welcome the HSE’s campaign to help people manage their medicines,"

Ms Tracy Egan, Patient Support Manager , Irish Heart Foundation

Mr 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.

Welcoming the new campaign Ms Tracy Egan, Patient Support Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation, said that medicines improved symptoms and therefore quality of life for so many people, when taken as prescribed. They remain a key method of managing heart disease as well as the risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

“We welcome the HSE’s campaign to help people manage their medicines. Having a list of medicines to give your doctor when you are having a medical procedure or being prescribed a new medicine is a vital piece of information for patient safety. Never stop your medications even if you are having side effects until you have discussed them with your Doctor as there may well be alternatives,” she stated.

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 per cent over the next five years.

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cholesterol heart disease high blood pressure medicine safety medicines patient information prescriptions side effects stroke treatments

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