Press Release Monday 16th March 2020
Statement from the Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry.
The Irish Platform for Patients, Science and Industry (IPPOSI) calls on the HSE and GPs to prioritise COVID-19 testing for patients with underlying conditions and urges the public not to flood new testing centres unnecessarily.
Last week the HSE announced that it will be rolling out large scale COVID-19 testing throughout Ireland from today, Monday 16th March. The Irish Platform for Patients, Science and Industry (IPPOSI) says patients with underlying conditions want the HSE and GPs to prioritise testing for them, their families and carers. IPPOSI also calls on the public to act responsibly and not to flood new testing centres and GP surgeries unnecessarily with requests for testing.
Patients with chronic conditions are at particular risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19. It is essential that these people are diagnosed quickly and treated immediately and early testing for this community is essential.
Derick Mitchell, CEO of IPPOSI, urges the public to heed government advice on identifying the symptoms of COVID-19, namely having a cough and high temperature, and not to unnecessarily flood GPs and testing centres with requests for testing. “Our patient organisation members tell us that their communities are increasingly worried about accessing testing with many people self-isolating from family members already while they wait for access to testing.”
IPPOSI says that patients need advice that is targeted at the high risk and vulnerable groups rather than generic help line information currently available. Not only are high risk patient groups worried about contracting COVID-19, but they are also concerned about the impact on their regular treatments and medicines. IPPOSI is calling for the following:
- More streamlined and standardised communication processes between the HSE, CHOs and Service Provider organisations as the situation escalates and regular services are impacted.
- Dedicated contact points be identified within the Department of Health and HSE to ensure effective flow of information with patient organisations and to answer their concerns.
IPPOSI also highlights the fact that information overload and false information is causing unnecessary worry and confusion amongst the High Risk Patient community. It urges members of the High Risk Patient community to follow the following guidelines:
- Your first source of information should be official state sources including gov.ie and www.hse.ie (Sources listed in notes)
- The patient organisation for your specific disease should be your next information point. Many patient organisations are providing timely information updates for their communities regarding COVID-19.
- Many patient organisations are working with their respective clinical programmes and medical advisors in relation to condition-specific information of relevance to their members.
- If you are worried about prescription medicines supply, please contact your local pharmacist or the Health Products Regulatory Authority for They are the experts in relation to supply of medicines.
- As a partnership of patient organisations, science and industry, IPPOSI is in a unique position to provide updated and reliable information through our Twitter account (@ipposi) & website ipposi.ie and we encourage people to follow these channels.
IPPOSI Chairperson, Ava Battles of MS Ireland added:“We welcome the work of the National Public Health Emergency Team on COVID-19, in particular the engagement with patient groups and the subgroup for vulnerable people. It is critical that these engagements provide leadership by bringing clarity to the specific issues faced by both patient organisations and vulnerable groups and supports the roll-out of critical responses.
Press Contact: Debbie Hutchinson, Communications Manager, IPPOSI, Phone 0868388886 email@example.com
Notes to the Editor
Note 1 – IPPOSI
IPPOSI is patient led, membership-based organisation. We are the collective voice of patients, industry and science. We envision a future where patients will access the best medicines, best care practices and best medical technology when they need it and where they need it. We are committed in the belief that the lived experience of patients must be at the centre of all research, planning and delivery of health policy, health services, medicines, products and technology. Our members include patient organisations, industry representatives, scientists and health professionals.
www.ipposi.ie Twitter @ipposi
Note 2 – Official Information sources for the High Risk COVID-19 patient community.
- https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/ – Official Government website with regular updates from the National Public Health Emergency Team, updates on Travel restrictions and other relevant information.
- https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html – Official HSE updates, advice and information.
- http://www.hpra.ie/homepage/about-us/stakeholders/covid-19-and-the-regulation-of-health-products-latest-information – Health Products Regulatory Authority have a dedicated COVID-19 section on its website including all relevant regulatory updates linked to COVID-19 and the products HPRA regulates, including coordinating the management of shortages of medicines on the Irish market.
https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/addressing-potential-impact-novel-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-medicines-supply-eu The EU Executive Steering Group on shortages of medicines caused by major events, is working to identify and coordinate EU-wide actions to protect patients when medicines in the EU are at risk of supply shortage, e.g. due to a temporary lockdown of manufacturing sites in areas affected by COVID-19 or travel restrictions impacting shipment. The group will also ensure that patients and healthcare professionals across the EU are kept informed in a consistent and transparent manner about the risks and the