PSI- The Pharmacy Regulator has launched first of its kind report in Ireland
- Report highlights the need for measures to ensure sustainable supply of pharmacists in patient-facing settings to meet current and future needs
- Findings provide a pharmacy perspective, for the first time, into national workforce planning initiatives for health and social care system
PSI – The Pharmacy Regulator has launched the Workforce Intelligence Report, a first of its kind in Ireland, examining the emerging risks to the future availability of pharmacists in patient-facing settings.
Its aim is to provide for a sustainable supply of pharmacists to meet current and future needs in patient-facing settings, and to enable pharmacy to play a full role in the development of the future integrated healthcare system.
The report contains six key recommendations with a series of actions, highlighting that a multi-agency stakeholder response is required to address the complex issue of workforce planning.
- Strategic Workforce Planning – Actions include the establishment of a multi-agency group focused on national workforce planning; the production of an annual workforce pharmacy survey report; mandatory workforce survey for all pharmacists.
- Leadership of and for the Profession – Actions include considering the appointment of a Chief Pharmaceutical Officer; assessing the feasibility of a professional leadership body; setting and implementing a plan for the vision and role of pharmacy as part of future integrated healthcare; and developing a national strategy for the future role of pharmacy technicians.
- Innovation and Technology – Priority areas are the design and development of national eHealth projects with pharmacy involvement; introducing changes to reimbursement and regulatory processes that facilitate digital solutions to reduce the administrative burden associated with manual paper-based activities.
- Attracting and Recruiting Pharmacists – Actions include ensuring there are enough students being trained to meet demand; conducting an annual sentiment survey of student experiences; streamlining the recognition process for pharmacists from non-EEA countries who wish to practise in Ireland.
- Career Sustainability and Progression- Key items include access to dedicated leadership and governance training to support career progression, development and recognition of advanced and specialist practice.
- Working conditions – Actions include the establishment of a forum for community pharmacist employers and employees regarding best practice in relation to working conditions, expansion and promotion of a range of workplace health and wellbeing resources.
PSI Registrar and Chief Officer, Joanne Kissane, said:
“We are pleased to present this report, which we regard as a milestone for pharmacy workforce planning in Ireland. The challenges facing pharmacy are not unique to Ireland. Global trends correlated in the report show these challenges can be attributed to our ageing population and complex health conditions, combined with challenges in recruiting and retaining pharmacists.
“This work was undertaken with the objective of ensuring that we have a sufficient supply of trained pharmacists equipped to provide high-quality, safe, and effective services to the public. It is about ensuring improved patient outcomes and enhancing the healthcare system overall. It is our intention that we will continue to build upon the findings presented here today and continue to contribute data and insights about the pharmacy workforce to nationally led strategic workforce planning and modelling.”
Over half of people in Ireland still admit to wasting water
- Greater Dublin region alone can see water use increase by up to 20 million litres per day during warm weather
- Appeal to curtail water usage regardless of the weather
Uisce Éireann has renewed its appeal to the public to ‘Think Water Conservation’ regardless of the weather. This comes as over half of Irish households (54%)* still admit to wasting water. Alarmingly, water use in the Greater Dublin Area can spike by up to 20 million litres per day during warm weather. As part of its annual campaign, Uisce Éireann called on households across the country to assess water usage habits and take practical steps to save water daily.
Simple water saving tips include:
- Checking your water consuming appliances such as washing machines and dishwaters for any plumbing issues. This includes looking out for dripping joints or leaking supply hoses
- Keep a jug of water in the fridge rather than letting the tap run cold and save six litres a day
- Making sure the tap is off while brushing teeth can save 84 litres of water a week
- Reducing shower time by 60 seconds can save up to 120 litres of water every week
- 250 litres of water a week can be saved by fixing any leaking or dripping taps in the garden
Speaking of the importance of water conservation year-round, Margaret Attridge, Uisce Éireann’s Head of Water Operations, said:
“It is important to remain conscious of our water usage habits throughout the year, regardless of the weather. Some urban areas tend to see increases in demand around the end of summer as schools return and people start back to work after holidays. Also, as we come into autumn and winter, storms and other extreme weather can impact on the capacity to treat and produce clean drinking water. For this reason, water conservation is something we should think about year-round.
“By working together to use only what we need in our homes, gardens, and businesses, we can all contribute to ensuring a sustainable water supply for everyone. We are encouraging communities all over Ireland to play their part and think water conservation throughout the year.
Attridge also reminded the public that once again the Uisce Éireann Conservation Calculator is on hand to help households examine how much water they are currently using and identify changes they could make to reduce their use.
“The average water use of one person is 133 litres per day. The Conservation Calculator provides helpful advice for those wanting to ensure they use water responsibly to improve their score rating and is free for all households to use on our website. It offers practical advice on conserving water, to ensure we have a sustainable water supply for everyone in years to come. We are encouraging everyone to play their part with us and think water conservation”.
For further information visit www.water.ie/conservation/
- New technology including AI functionality set to transform customer service offering of Ergo- the largest privately owned Irish founded IT solutions provider
- Anticipated to generate revenue growth of over €10 million for company which delivers and manages IT services in 36 countries globally
Technology consultancy firm Konversational is pleased to announce an Irish market first in a new €3 million technology deal with Ergo, set to radically transform the customer service offering of the IT solutions provider which delivers and manages the IT needs for financial services, pharma, life sciences and public sector organisations in 36 countries across the globe.
The investment, its largest ever in Enterprise Management technologies, will enable Ergo to offer an enhanced customer service experience to clients. It will harness the power of AI throughout their cloud-based IT services platform, providing clients with additional features, including a 24/7 virtual assistant to enable them to trouble shoot IT problems and escalate issues for faster resolution.
It will also provide Ergo with a flow of data to make real-time decisions on client needs, in a faster and smarter manner, and will deliver greater insights to fully inform them on the individual needs and preferences of each client, facilitating bespoke solutions to any issues.
The technology, developed by global U.S. digital workflow company ServiceNow, is regarded as pivotal to Ergo’s ambition to attain the position of Ireland’s leading Managed Services Provider. It is also anticipated to generate revenue growth of over €10 million in the next five years for the company which employs over 700 IT professionals across its Dublin headquarters and offices in Cork, Limerick, UK, United States, Colombia, New Zealand and Romania.
Technology consultancy Konversational, one of the largest and most experienced pureplay companies working with ServiceNow in Customer Workflow technology in the UKI market have been appointed to implement the software which will drive innovation and elevate the customer user experience across the entire Ergo network.
Headquartered in Dublin and with an office in London, Konversational is ideally placed to deploy its industry knowledge of the ServiceNow platform, across projects of this scale.
John Gilleran, Managing Director, Konversational said,
“We are pleased to partner with Ergo and to play a critical role as technology deployment partner, on this ambitious digital transformation project, which will drive Ergo’s commercial ambitions. The technological solutions that will be implemented will deliver an enhanced customer service offering and lead to a greater experience for clients, across the entire Ergo network.
“By utilising the ServiceNow Customer Workflow technology solutions, Ergo is ensuring that their service offering will support their ambition to become Ireland’s leading IT Managed Services Provider. The move also reflects Ergo’s commitment to constant innovation in a rapidly changing global business environment. This latest deal builds further on our relationship with Ergo, and as the largest and most experienced company working with ServiceNow in Customer Workflow technology in the UKI market, we have the knowledge, pedigree and expertise to play a leading role in projects of this scale.”
John Clancy, MD Managed Services, Ergo Group said,
“We are particularly proud at Ergo to be the first IT Managed Services Provider to implement the ServiceNow Managed Service Provider platform in Ireland. This technology, including cutting edge AI capability, represents the future of customer service excellence, and it is our intention to be at the forefront of this revolution.
“The platform will help us to serve our clients in faster and smarter ways by using data to understand their needs, preferences, and feedback and to help them self-serve on our platform. This will continually improve their experience and get them the best and most efficient support in the shortest timeframe possible.
“Harnessing these technologies through our Ergo Connect client portal also helps us enhance our communication with our clients by providing multiple ways to interact with us, including virtual assistant, which allows our clients to digitally interact directly with the platform as if talking directly to a person.
“We can then match requirements to solutions in our rich AI data sets to deliver an automated response and resolution in real time. We can also provide customer insights through sentiment analysis of the incident or problem and their resulting outcomes.”
Paul Turley, Director, ServiceNow commented,
“As Managed Service and Technology Providers like Ergo scale their businesses and drive innovation, they must ensure exceptional customer experiences in every interaction while keeping processes scalable and efficient.
“End customers want fast, responsive service. While self-serve portals and customer support can quickly receive requests, resolving them usually involves multiple teams working in siloes, leading to manual and error-prone hand-offs with lack of transparency and poor visibility.
“ServiceNow is at the forefront of driving cutting edge innovation to enable Ergo to realise this scalability, deliver world class customer service and lower delivery costs, all at the same time. We are very proud of what Ergo have so far accomplished and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Ergo and Konversational to drive value from this investment in ServiceNow technology.”
This latest announcement follows on from Ergo and Konversational partnering in July 2022 on the first ever Irish and European deal of its kind, with Konversational providing Ergo with ServiceNow’s Service Provider specific customer workflow solution Technology Provider Service Management (TPSM).
European Milk Forum Research Finds that Irish Consumers are confident that dairy farmers can tackle climate challenges
- 89% of consumers have confidence in Irish dairy farmers to make the necessary changes to achieve climate action targets
- 76% regard the industry as hugely important to Ireland
- 76% believe that the industry should be supported to remain viable for future generations
- 75% feel informed about the role of dairy farmers as food producers
New research from the European Milk Forum (EMF) is showing that almost 9 in every 10 consumers believe dairy farmers can make the necessary changes to achieve climate action targets while 7 in every 10 (76%) believe that the industry should be supported to remain viable for future generations.
Up to 75% believe that they are sufficiently informed about the work of dairy farmers and appreciate their role as food producers as part of a sustainable food system. A similar number (76%) also believe that the industry is critically important – economically, socially and culturally while 2 in every 3 (66%) believe dairy farmers can help consumers adopt a more sustainable approach.
The findings are from a survey of 1,500 Irish adults by the European Milk Forum as part of their “Dairy in a Healthy and Sustainable European Food System” campaign.
While the findings show that consumers believe dairy farmers are rising to the challenge, the survey also shows that consumers fear rising input costs risk farmers’ sustainability strides (48%) with 44% concerned about dairy farmers balancing environmental demands and remaining economically viable.
Sustainability is very much front of mind for survey respondents, with 69% recycling food and packaging and 73% stating they waste as little food as possible.
Zoe Kavanagh, Spokesperson for the European Milk Forum in Ireland and Chief Executive of the National Dairy Council, said the research shows that Irish consumers continue to support dairy farmers, and equally appreciate their important role in a sustainable food system.
“Combatting the climate crisis requires a society-wide response. Our findings demonstrate that consumers have confidence in Ireland’s 17,500 family-run dairy farms to implement the necessary sustainability initiatives and to continue to respond proactively to the challenge of climate change.
“While concerns have been expressed about the need to implement technological innovations and achieve quick results, the findings also demonstrate that overall, Irish consumers have confidence in dairy farmers to make a real difference and are aware of the work underway so far.
“We know that Irish farmers are determined to play their part and are stepping up to the plate with environmental initiatives implemented on dairy farms across Ireland, further enhancing the sustainability of our pasture-based production system. We do need to acknowledge the balancing act between remaining economically viable and ensuring our family-run dairy farms are supported to further enhance their milk production process. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that dairy farming supports 60,000 jobs and contributes €5 billion to the Irish economy.
“Dairy farmers can take heart from the finding that a strong majority of consumers believe that dairy is vital to rural communities and regional economies. Year-on-year, research increasingly reflects this with figures increasing from 69% in 2022 to now 76% in 2023. Further to this, we know consumers place a significant value on dairy, with 54% believing it is part of a healthy diet and over 90% including milk, cheese and yogurt in their diet on a weekly basis. Taste, health and nutritional value were identified as key considerations for consumers.
“Irish dairy has a great story to tell, with a great history on this island stretching back almost six thousand years. We need to continue to share the story of Irish dairy, show consumers the right things that we are doing, demonstrate our willingness to rise to the challenge and our firm commitment to being a part of the solution to tackle the climate crisis.”
Data shows large increase in online listings of dangerous and illegal substance targeting younger people
The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) today reminds the public that the unregulated substance Melanotan 2 is not safe for use and may cause serious, long-term damage to your health. Often described as a self-tanning aid, the product is also referred to as Melanotan, Melanotan II or MT2. It is commonly sold as an injectable powder or in the form of drops and nasal sprays.
The HPRA is also concerned that products containing Melanotan 2 are increasingly being targeted towards young people by using bright colours, flavours, and branding. The HPRA will take action against individuals using social media and e-commerce to advertise and supply Melanotan 2 containing products, including the removal of content and accounts, and prosecution activity when there is significant risk to public health. In this regard, the HPRA continues to engage with e-commerce and social media platforms with the goal of limiting the sale and promotion of these untested products.
According to Grainne Power, Director of Compliance with the HPRA, this substance continues to be advertised for cosmetic purposes online despite known side effects. To protect the public, the HPRA works to remove these advertisements with a focus on stemming the supply of Melanotan 2. It is also important to raise awareness and inform people of the dangers of using this product.
“A substance like Melanotan 2 poses a threat to someone’s health. There is no safety data to support its use, with no guarantees as to its quality, safety or effectiveness. If products advertised online seem too good to be true, it is likely that they are. Serious side effects of taking Melanotan 2 include the development of new moles, darkening of existing moles and freckles, potential loss of vision, muscle tremors, stroke and anaphylaxis.” Ms Power said.
Consumers should be aware that Melanotan 2 is not authorised by the HPRA or any medicines regulator to treat any condition. Despite how it may be presented, it is not a cosmetic product. The HPRA advises anyone using Melanotan 2 to stop using it immediately and to contact medical professionals regarding potential health concerns.
Ms. Power continued,
“As it is intended to be inhaled or injected, it cannot be classified as a cosmetic because it results in an action within your body. We urge consumers to carefully consider and question both what they are seeing online and the motivation of the individuals who profit from the sale and promotion of this substance. There are no legitimate suppliers of Melanotan 2 and those that do so illegally do not have your best interests or your health in mind. Taking this product simply puts your health at risk.”
The HPRA has noted a marked increase in activity on social media illegally advertising the sale and promotion of Melanotan 2 products. Between July 2022 and June 2023, the HPRA has removed over 500 social media or e-commerce listings relating to Melanotan 2. This is a noticeable escalation in activity when compared to a combined total of less than 500 listings removed across the previous two years.
Members of the public can report suspicious activities around the supply of Melanotan 2 and other health products to the HPRA, in confidence, by emailing email@example.com or by calling 01 634 3871 or 01 634 3431. Further information for consumers on the dangers of purchasing medicines online is available here: Dangers of buying prescription medicines online
Additional information relating to the dangers of using Melanotan 2 is available in the corresponding HPRA safety notice.
The HPRA’s advice to anyone using Melanotan 2 is to stop immediately. If you are concerned that you have experienced ill effects from using Melanotan 2, we recommend you speak to a medical professional. You can also use our online form to report such effects to the HPRA.
IBM Security has released its annual Cost of a Data Breach Report,1 showing the global average cost of a data breach reached $4.45 million in 2023 – an all-time high for the report and a 15% increase over the last 3 years. Detection and escalation costs jumped 42% over this same time frame, representing the highest portion of breach costs, and indicating a shift towards more complex breach investigations.
According to the 2023 IBM report, businesses are divided in how they plan to handle the increasing cost and frequency of data breaches. The study found that while 95% of studied organizations have experienced more than one breach, breached organizations were more likely to pass incident costs onto consumers (57%) than to increase security investments (51%).
The 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report is based on in-depth analysis of real-world data breaches experienced by 553 organizations globally between March 2022 and March 2023. The research, sponsored and analyzed by IBM Security, was conducted by Ponemon Institute and has been published for 18 consecutive years. Some key findings in the 2023 IBM report include:
- AI Picks Up Speed – AI and automation had the biggest impact on speed of breach identification and containment for studied organizations. Organizations with extensive use of both AI and automation experienced a data breach lifecycle that was 108 days shorter compared to studied organizations that have not deployed these technologies (214 days versus 322 days).
- The Cost of Silence – Ransomware victims in the study that involved law enforcement saved $470,000 in average costs of a breach compared to those that chose not to involve law enforcement. Despite these potential savings, 37% of ransomware victims studied did not involve law enforcement in a ransomware attack.
- Detection Gaps – Only one third of studied breaches were detected by an organization’s own security team, compared to 27% that were disclosed by an attacker. Data breaches disclosed by the attacker cost nearly $1 million more on average compared to studied organizations that identified the breach themselves.
Speaking on the findings of the report, Elaine Hanley of IBM Security Services Ireland said: “Across the globe, and very similar to the UK, this report confirms what we are seeing as ordinary citizens in Ireland. Across all industries studied customer personally identifiable information was the most commonly breached record type and the costliest. In Ireland we are seeing a surge in phishing emails and texts in recent months.
Globally, we are seeing that firms with a smaller number of employees were disproportionally affected by higher breach costs, which in the context of Ireland means that most of the indigent industries operating here need to pay attention to cybersecurity. Globally, we saw that only about half of those who suffered a breach actually plan to invest more in their cybersecurity programme, post breach.
The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in Ireland and although this can be seen as generally positive it does incur additional cyber security risks. However, AI and automation had the biggest impact on speed of breach identification and containment for studied organisations. So now is the time to understand to the technologies and strategies that best protect your data.”