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Know Check Ask

Know Check Ask

Every year in Northern Ireland, it is estimated that there are 11.7 million medication errors. It is thought these medication errors could cause 20 deaths, contribute to 57 inpatient deaths and cost the health service around £1.9 million per year.

Medicines are the most commonly used medical intervention in NI, and at any one time, around 70% of our population take prescribed or over-the-counter medicines to treat or prevent ill health.

All medication errors are potentially avoidable and the risk of these occurring can therefore be greatly reduced or even prevented.

A medication safety campaign titled Know, Check, Ask (KCA) has been developed to support the World Health Organisation’s third Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm. The aim of the WHO challenge is to reduce severe avoidable harm by 50% globally over the next five years.

The first phase of the Know Check Ask medication safety campaign will be launched via the Living Well campaign which will be taking place in community pharmacies across Northern Ireland in May and June 2022.

The Know Check Ask campaign will be visible through community pharmacies, with leaflets available for patients, and posters on display.

The Living Well campaign will promote the use of a three-step checking system to help increase awareness of, and educate the public about, the importance of using medication safely.  It will also support people to be more involved in decisions about their medication and encourage them to report issues and concerns about their medication and to keep an up-to-date list Know Check Ask Leaflet .

Further work will be undertaken to raise awareness of Know Check Ask across the wider health and social care system over the coming months.

The Living Well campaign objectives are:

  • To increase the general public’s knowledge about medication safety
  • To support patients (and/or their carers) in taking more responsibility for their own medications and health
  • To educate patients (and/ or their carers) on how to reduce the risk of medication errors by using a simple three-step system – KNOW, CHECK, ASK.