Sign up now for ease of access to The Medical Independent, Ireland’s most frequently published medical newspaper, delivering award-winning news and investigative reporting.

  • receive the eCopy two days prior to the printed edition.
  • can partake in our online MCQs.
  • can enter our online sports quiz.


Medicalindependent.ie is Ireland's only investigative medical news website for doctors, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health issues.

Established in 2010, along with its sister publication The Medical Independent, our stated aim is to investigate and analyse the major issues affecting healthcare and the medical profession in Ireland. The Medical Independent has won a number of awards for its investigative journalism, and its stories are frequently picked up by national digital, broadcast and print media. The Medical Independent is published by GreenCross Publishing.

Address: Top Floor, 111 Rathmines Road Lr, Dublin 6

Tel: 353 (01) 441 0024

GreenCross Publishing is owned by Graham Cooke.

Valproate survivors ‘await supports’

By Catherine Reilly - 22nd Feb 2021 | 37 views

A funded care pathway for children and adults affected by the teratogenic prescription drug, Epilim (sodium valproate), has yet to be implemented, according to patient support group Organisation for Anti-Convulsant Syndrome (OACS) Ireland.

The care pathway was a commitment in a HSE valproate response plan instigated in 2018, and this month, an Executive spokesperson informed the Medical Independent (MI) that 32 patients had “accessed” the pathway to date.

However, OACS Ireland, which represents survivors and their families nationally, informed this newspaper that it was “not aware of one person who has got services”. Families had sent continuous emails to HSE community operations for many months seeking to gain access.

MI also understands that the office of the HSE Chief Clinical Officer has received a complaint from OACS Ireland stating that families had felt rushed during clinical genetics consultations at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), Crumlin.

Consultations had manifested in an “unhelpful and confusing outcome”, according to the group. OACS Ireland said it was informed by CHI Crumlin that the clinic was established at short notice, with a consultant undertaking the work on top of an existing busy schedule. The families had been promised a dedicated valproate diagnosis clinic.

In May 2018 the Oireachtas joint committee on health issued a report on foetal anticonvulsant syndrome with 12 recommendations, including that a “full suite of services” be agreed with families within eight weeks of the report’s publication.

Ms Karen Keely, Chair of OACS Ireland, told MI families were under increasing stress.

Ms Karen Keely

“If France can have everything in place for the thousands of children impacted by valproate can somebody in the Department and/or the HSE tell OACS Ireland why there is nothing in place for the few diagnosed in Ireland?”

Ms Keely said the HSE had recently committed to improving its communications with OACS Ireland and affected families.

OACS Ireland, the HSE and CHI are now in discussions on a weekly basis to progress matters.

Ms Keely also acknowledged Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s announcement in November that an inquiry will take place into historical prescription of valproate medicines.

Leave a Reply

Latest
Latest Issue
medical news
The Medical Independent 19th May 2022

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

Most Read