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PSI recognises important role of Practitioner Health Matters Programme

December 01, 2015

The Practitioner Health Matters Programme supports any pharmacist, doctor or dentist in Ireland who has a concern about a mental health or substance abuse problem.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Practitioner Health Matters Programme (PHMP), an independent organisation that supports any pharmacist, doctor, or dentist in Ireland who has a mental health or a substance misuse problem. 

The memorandum of understanding ('MoU') formally recognises the vital and supportive work that the practitioner health programme offers to pharmacists and pharmaceutical assistants in need of confidential care that will allow them to continue in or return to practice. 

Based in Sandyford in Dublin, Practitioner Health Matters can be contacted in confidence for referrals or questions to 01 297 0356 or through the website Although endorsed and supported by professional and regulatory organisations, it is a fully independent service.

Signing the co-operative agreement, PSI President Dr Ann Frankish said, "The Council of the PSI welcomes this opportunity to acknowledge the important new service provided by the PHMP and its extension to include any pharmacist or pharmaceutical assistant, who requires help with recovery from mental health or substance misuse issues through a professionally supported network."

"Like other health workers, in the past pharmacists may have been slow to reach out for support when faced with very personal health or addiction issues, but with this service they can access the care they need in confidence," she continued.  

She acknowledged that the MoU also enables the PSI to refer a registrant to the PHMP, in circumstances where the appropriate intervention is for the pharmacist or pharmaceutical assistant to get the medical help and support he or she needs. In circumstances where a practitioner engages voluntarily with the service, the PSI will only become aware of this if that person is not compliant with their recovery programme, and if circumstances arise where the practitioner is deemed to pose an immediate risk to themselves or to patients and the public.  

Hugh Kane, Chairperson of the PHMP, said, "This MoU with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland is an another important step forward in ensuring Irish health practitioners, who may have mental health or addiction problems, have access to a service that provides a high standard of care, in a non-judgmental atmosphere with complete confidentiality assured."

Like the general public, one in four practitioners may have mental health difficulties at some point in their lives. With alcohol or drug-related problems, the rates in the general population are around 10-15%, and similar rates may exist among doctors, dentists and pharmacists.

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