HSE Partner Pack 12th May 2023 – Health service updates and information

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Dear Colleague,

Thank you for your continuing support in helping to share information about important health service updates. Our highlight communications updates for you this week are:

Health service updates and information

World Health Organization (WHO) lifts global public health emergency for COVID-19
The HSE’s National Immunisation Office (NIO) welcomes the statement by the WHO Director-General that “COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).”

However, work continues to be required to manage the ongoing impact of COVID-19 in Ireland and globally. The importance of vaccination is clear and everyone who is eligible is encouraged to come forward for vaccination.

Get your COVID-19 Spring booster at HSE walk-in clinics this weekend

  • No appointment necessary
  • Walk-in clinic options available here
  • Also available in participating GPs or pharmacies

Today (Friday, 12th May 2023), the HSE is reminding everyone aged 70 or older and those aged 12 years or older with a weak immune system who has not received their COVID-19 Spring booster vaccine to get it as soon as possible.  Vaccines are available at our walk-in vaccination clinics running this weekend.

Clinics are available at www.hse.ie/walkin and no appointment is needed. You can attend any of these walk-in clinics to receive your COVID-19 Spring booster vaccine if you are 70 or older or 12 years and over with a weak immune system.

Vaccines are proven to your best protection against serious illness from COVID-19. If you haven’t had your COVID-19 Spring booster yet, you’re at risk.

Eileen Whelan, National Lead, COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, HSE said: “We know people’s immunity weakens over time, especially in older people. This latest booster will keep them protected from serious illness and boost their immunity against infection from COVID-19.

“We aim to complete this COVID-19 Spring booster programme by the end of May and we are urging everyone eligible to take up this opportunity to provide themselves with this protection by getting vaccinated at this time. You can do this by going along to one of our walk-in vaccination clinics or getting a Spring booster vaccine at participating pharmacies or GPs.”

Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 Codes of Practice

The Decision Support Service has published 13 statutory Codes of Practice for the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015.

The Codes of Practice are for decision supporters, interveners and relevant professionals and provide guidance for their functions and responsibilities under the Act.

The Decision Support Service has also developed guidance materials and videos about the Act to support learning. You can access all of these supports at decisionsupportservice.ie.

Find the Codes of Practice for the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 here.

Be tick aware: protect against Lyme disease

On Tick Awareness Day (10th May 2023) the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) had some practical advice on how to protect yourself against ticks, whose bite can cause Lyme disease.

Ticks are present everywhere in Ireland, including both urban and rural areas and are active from spring to autumn. They are tiny spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of humans, animals and birds, and are more numerous and more active in the summer months.  Tick bites can be prevented by:

  • Wearing long trousers, long sleeved shirt and shoes
  • Wearing a hat and tuck in hair
  • Using an insect repellent (preferably containing the active ingredient DEET)
  • Checking skin, hair and warm skin folds (especially the neck and scalp of children) for ticks, after a day out
  • Checking for ticks and removing any from your pets/ clothing/ outdoor gear
  • Removing any ticks and consulting with a GP if symptoms develop.

Most cases of Lyme disease are very mild and many infected people may not have symptoms. The most common sign of infection is a skin rash (known as Bullseye rash or erythema migrans). In a small number of cases however, the infection can be more severe, leading to serious nervous system, heart and joint disease.

Anyone who develops a rash or other symptoms should visit their GP and explain that they have been bitten by a tick.

Pictures of the Lyme disease skin rash can be found on the HSE website.

You can see instructions on how to remove a tick on the HSE website https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/lyme-disease/

People can find lots of information and resources about Lyme disease on the HPSC website.

Just one in five women in Ireland confident of noticing a symptom of Ovarian Cancer

New research carried out in April 2023 has highlighted that nearly 8 out of 10 women in Ireland are not confident they would notice a symptom of ovarian cancer. The study was commissioned by the Irish Network for Gynaecological Oncology (INGO).

To mark World Ovarian Cancer Day (8th May 2023) the INGO launched a campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and encourage women to contact and explain their symptoms to their GP if they are worried, as early diagnosis can save lives.  The campaign emphasises the BEAT symptoms:

  • Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go
  • Eating less and feeling full more quickly
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days
  • Toilet changes in urination or bowel habits

Annually, approximately 400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and almost 300 women die from this disease in Ireland.  Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women in Ireland, after lung, breast, and colorectal cancer.

There is no standard screening test to pick up ovarian cancer in women who don’t have symptoms. We should all can be more symptom aware and talk to our GP without delay if we experience symptoms of ovarian cancer.

For more information, please visit www.isgo.ie

For HSE information on ovarian cancer, please find more information here.

HSE Talking Health & Wellbeing Podcast – Making Every Contact Count

Listen to this week’s episode as the HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare MECC Mobiliser and Physio Therapy Manager describe their roles and experiences implementing Making Every Contact Count. Listen and follow wherever you get your Podcasts or on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel. For more information visit www.makingeverycontactcount.ie

Public Health resources


For information and advice, please go to https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/covid19/ and https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/. Clinical and professional guidance relating to COVID-19 is available on www.hpsc.ie.

Health service information for Ukrainian nationals

  • Updated mental health supports information is here
  • Disability services information is here
  • Healthcare services information is here
  • COVID-19 information is here
  • COVID-19 vaccination video, Dr Oksana Kozdoba, a Pediatrician from Ukraine, shares information about the vaccination programme in Ireland. She covers the vaccines offered in Ireland to protect babies, school children and adults.

If your organisation has any requests in relation to public health information materials, please reply directly to this email to let us know.

Many thanks,

Kahlil & Katie

COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement, HSE Communications

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