Why I’m making an effort to report to OPRA

by | Nov 1, 2020 | OPRA | 0 comments

Dr D F Gallagher is a Consultant Occupational Physician who explains the benefits of the OPRA reporting scheme below.

Recently, I have redoubled my efforts to report regularly to OPRA. Why have I done this?

When I suspect a link between a particular occupation and a specific condition, I can use OPRA as a valuable tool for refining my opinion.

As reporting of cases to the scheme is in the hands of the participating physicians, this has the advantage of encouraging those who may have been deterred from more formal routes of publication to return details to OPRA about a specific issue.

No doubt this runs the risk of false positivity, but this ‘limitation’ is more than compensated for by one of the key strengths of the scheme – its sensitivity.

In our role as occupational physicians, we aim to try to prevent occupational disease, and in this way I believe that this fundamental principle is mirrored within OPRA.

I have used OPRA for the following specific activities:

  • Checking data on respiratory problems relating to particular chemicals or occupation.
  • Investigating an apparent increase in cases of occupational asthma in a specific occupational sector (textiles). Although I concluded this was an artefact, it prompted constructive debate about this issue between relevant parties.
  • As part of my continuing medical education, by reading/learning from the Case of the Quarter.

I am also aware of the value that the HSE places on the scheme, especially when they are asked to conduct toxicity reviews for specific chemicals.

As a consequence of this, I know that the reports I send to OPRA will have a proportionate influence on the risk regulator (and not just because I work for the HSE)!

Appreciating its value, and having availed myself of its usefulness on many occasions and in different ways, I recognise that OPRA can only be as good as its reporters allow.

Consistent reporting is small repayment for the help it gives me in my day-to-day working life.

Find out more about the OPRA reporting scheme.