Picking the brains of The Irish Haemophilia Society

Bill Wright and Brian O’Mahony outside The Houses of Oireachtas (Ireland's National Parliament) after hearing a topical question from Deputy Robert Troy on the need for the Health Service Executive to put in place an early access programme for patients with hepatitis C to new direct acting antiviral.

Bill Wright and Brian O’Mahony outside The Houses of Oireachtas (Ireland’s National Parliament) after hearing a topical question from Deputy Robert Troy on the need for the Health Service Executive to put in place an early access programme for patients with hepatitis C to new direct acting antiviral.

Yesterday we visited The Irish Haemophilia Society to find out more about what they do and were made extremely welcome.

Scotland and Ireland have a lot in common.  Ireland has 4.6 million people compared to 5.3 million in Scotland and our economies are almost exactly the same size too (GDP of approximately $218 billion and $216 billion respectively).  They are also one of very few countries who have been through an official Public Inquiry into the contaminated blood disaster. That is why we thought, as a new charity, Haemophilia Scotland would have a lot to learn and we weren’t disappointed!

The Irish Haemophilia Society very kindly gave us an enormous amount of time an we covered an incredible range of topics.  Everything from strategy, governance & finance through events, services & projects to our international work and how to respond to the Penrose Inquiry. We had very useful discussions about the current campaigns in both countries for access to the new “Interferon-Free” therapies for Hepatitis C.  We also found out more about the psychosocial work of The Irish Haemophilia Society and how it could be adapted for Scotland.

We came away incredibly impressed at what has been achieved with 40 years of hard work in Ireland.  We flew back with notepads full of ideas and armfuls of information which we will use to keep improving our work.

Finding out what goes on in other countries, particularly in Europe, can be incredibly useful.  If you’d like to do this yourself remember it isn’t too late to attend the European Haemophilia Consortium Conference in Belfast from the 3rd to 5th of October 2014. We are presenting a poster at the conference on our Parent Mentoring Project.

The Irish Haemophilia Society produce and vast range of publications and booklets for people affected by bleeding disorders.

The Irish Haemophilia Society produce and vast range of publications and booklets for people affected by bleeding disorders. These are just some of them!

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