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New centre to promote patient safety launched for Northern Ireland

18th September 2023

A new regional centre which promotes the reporting of suspected safety concerns associated with healthcare products has been launched.

The Yellow Card centre for Northern Ireland will bring together a dedicated team to increase awareness, educate, and promote reporting of suspected adverse events to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Yellow Card scheme.

The Yellow Card scheme provides a mechanism for patients, care givers and healthcare staff to report suspected safety concerns associated with healthcare products.

This could be a suspected side effect to a medicine, an adverse medical device incident, or suspected safety concerns involving defective, falsified or fake healthcare products.

Speaking at the launch of the new service, Northern Ireland Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Professor Cathy Harrison said: “Collecting and monitoring information on possible adverse effects of medications and healthcare products is vital to ensuring patient safety.

It is fitting that the launch of the Yellow Card centre for Northern Ireland coincides with World Patient Safety Day on 17 September, with this year’s theme of “Engaging patients for patient safety”.

The Yellow Card scheme puts the patient voice at its heart. By voluntarily reporting issues, patients, families and caregivers can play a crucial role in their own care, and the safety of healthcare as a whole. I welcome the launch of the new regional centre and would encourage anyone who has suspected safety concerns to report them.”

The Yellow Card Centre Northern Ireland will be based at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

Paula King, Regional Lead Pharmacist Yellow Card centre and Medicines and Poisons Advice Service said: ‘The Yellow Card centre aims to improve awareness and education about the MHRA Yellow Card scheme to enable and empower our patients, health professionals, and local partners across Northern Ireland, to Yellow Card report for medicines, and healthcare products.

The Yellow Card centre Northern Ireland is the sixth regional centre commissioned by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Dr Alison Cave, MHRA Chief Safety Officer, said: “We are delighted to support the launch of a new Yellow Card centre in Belfast which will help to further improve the safety of healthcare products in the UK. Every report made by a patient, healthcare professional or carer plays a crucial role in helping us to gain further knowledge about the risks of medicines and medical devices in clinical use, and allows us to take action, when necessary, to minimise the risk of harm to patients. Patient safety is our top priority.

“Reporting suspected side effects and adverse incidents, including defective or fake healthcare products, to the Yellow Card scheme helps to improve the safety of medicines and medical devices for all patients. By reporting, you could be helping those who are most vulnerable and at risk of potential harm. If you, your child, or a patient in your care experiences a suspected side effect or adverse reaction related to a medicine or medical device, we urge you to report it to us as soon as possible. The faster you report, the more likely it is that we can intervene and prevent any possible risks to patients.”

Moira Kearney, Interim Director of Cancer & Specialist Services said: “I wish Dr Mark Cross Medical Lead, and colleagues Paula King Regional Lead Pharmacist, Áine Liggett Lead Pharmacovigilance Pharmacist, and Siobhan Kelly Lead Nurse at the Yellow Card Centre every success with this important patient safety initiative.

I encourage all health professionals to support the team as they get out and about across the Trust to promote the MHRA Yellow Card scheme and provide Yellow Card awareness sessions over the coming months.”

Reports to the Yellow Card scheme can be made at or via the Yellow Card app, available from Apple App or Google Play Store.