IMSN conference hears pain management still problematic in the 21st century

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has congratulated the Irish Medication Safety Network for its 'invaluable' role in creating a 'patient safety first' culture in Ireland.

Opening the IMSN's fifth annual conference at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park, Mr Varadkar praised the IMSN and said putting patient safety first was now embedded in his Department's philosophy.

Group With Minister

He said: 'The work of this network in providing guidance, for example on Potassium, has been invaluable and is to be commended. I and my colleagues in the DOH are very grateful.'

Mr Varadkar also reminded the audience that sometimes it's not the quality of medicines that put patients at risk but the processes involved – prescribing, dispensing or administering them.

He added: 'The 2008 Patient Safety Report provides a roadmap for a national culture of patient safety and outlines specific measures including medication safety.'

The IMSN continued its highly successful series of annual conferences. Last Friday's was the fifth to take place at Farmleigh House in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

This focus of year's event, Pitfalls in Pain Management Therapeutics and Management, was on pain in different populations and clinical situations, highlighting treatment risks and how to address them.

It was addressed by specialists in acute pain, palliative medicine, and paediatrics. Speakers included Dr Conor Hearty, Dr Lucy Balding and Cliona Hayden, Dr Branislav Mislovic and Oisin hAlmhain.

The conference was attended by healthcare professionals, representatives of relevant state and professional bodies, and patient representatives, who heard that safety issues still persist with pain management in the 21st century.

Speakers emphasised that it is essential to know both the pain type and the patient with whom you're dealing, and highlighted the importance of multimodal treatment, individual treatment plans and flexibility.

For further information:

Niamh O'Hanlon, Vice-chair Irish Medication Safety Network

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes for editors:

A key aim of the IMSN is to have a strong medication safety culture enmeshed in the Irish healthcare system, supported by national and local policy.

Established in 2007, the IMSN is a voluntary network of independent pharmacists and other specialists 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.