The Irish Medication Safety Network (IMSN) is ten years in existence, and held its 8th annual conference on Friday 10th November at Farmleigh House in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Entitled ‘Person-centred Care – a Collaborative Approach, the conference was attended by healthcare professionals, representatives of relevant state and professional bodies, and patient representatives. The conference focused broadly on Medication Safety on a national and local level including presentations from a number of experienced and inspiring speakers.

Mr Lorcan Birthistle, CEO, St James’s Hospital provided excellent insight into the complexity of serious incident follow-up while Professor Michael Barry, Clinical Lead, Medicines Management Programme, HSE spoke about the value of considering opportunity cost when assessing new medicines. Ms Doreen Powell, Head of Quality and Safety, Connolly Hospital and Ms Ann Duffy, Senior Clinical Risk Manager, State Claims Agency presented on the impact an incident can have on a healthcare professional and the importance of supporting the ‘second victim’, including the use of easily accessible tools.

Lorcan Birthistle

The conference also heard from pharmacists describing medication safety initiatives at Our Lady of Lourdes, Crumlin, Rotunda & Naas hospitals. These quality improvement presentations generated much enthusiasm, highlighting the benefit of reviewing the fundamentals of supply/storage processes; medicines reconciliation and the value of using technology to promote safer medicines management.

The wide range of speakers and perspectives at the conference reflected this year’s theme of collaboration. In the closing session, Mr. Sean Egan, Head of Healthcare Regulation, HIQA provided an overview of the findings from the first phase of HIQA’s Medication Safety Monitoring Programme. Among HIQA’s findings was a need  for hospitals to develop clear strategic plans for medication safety including a co-ordinated approach to audit. A considerable disparity in hospital pharmacy services and resources was noted during the inspections. A targeted increased investment in Clinical Pharmacy services, ensuring more Hospital Group collaboration and expanding the role of Information Technology are viewed by HIQA as key drivers in tackling this disparity in the interest of Medication Safety.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Paul Tighe, Chairperson of the IMSN and Head of Pharmacy Services at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, said: “The 10th Anniversary of the IMSN coincides with the launch of the WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge – Medication without Harm. The challenge is to reduce the level of severe avoidable harm related to medications by 50% over 5 years, globally. The IMSN welcomes this global call for action, as we continue to promote the exchange of information on medication safety and facilitate national and global initiatives”.

Notes to Editors

Established in 2007, the IMSN is a voluntary network of independent pharmacists working in the acute healthcare sector with a special interest in medication safety.

The network has representation from all major hospitals in the country, both public and private, reaching over 50 acute health care facilities in Ireland.

The IMSN’s principal aim is to improve patient safety with regard to the use of medicines through improved sharing of information throughout the acute healthcare system and the adoption of national and global initiatives to help minimise risks to patients. To this end, it has published several alerts, guidelines and briefing documents, available on its website, . It also liaises with relevant state bodies and working groups to develop national patient safety initiatives. Its members are active in developing patient safety initiatives within Irish acute hospitals and are also involved with Irish universities in delivering medication safety education modules as part of undergraduate medical, nursing and pharmacy degree courses and post-graduate programmes.

For copies of our documentation and further information please visit

For further information:

Geraldine Creaton, IMSN Correspondence Secretary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A full agenda for the conference can be accessed via the following link.

Presenters slides and photographs from the event are available here: 10 years of the IMSN - Content.