June 16, 2021
Minister must prioritise new Cardiovascular Health Strategy – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called on the Minister for Health to prioritise the development of a new plan for improving cardiovascular health services.

This follows a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee with the Irish Heart Foundation and Croí which heard that the outdated 2010-2019 Changing Cardiovascular Health policy has not been implemented and has run its course.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“Heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of death in this state.

“The Department of Health does not even know how many stroke survivors there are – estimates are decades out of date and were produced by NGOs many years ago.

“The Irish Heart Foundation estimates that there are more than 90,000 stroke survivors, treble the Department of Health’s estimate.

“There has been no review of stroke survivors, and no survey of their needs.

“Similarly, despite the great work of highly specialised cardiovascular healthcare professionals in the acute sector, the Government has failed to deliver on important preventative measures to prevent hospitalisation in the first place.

“We need a specific strategy that deals with, integrates, and delivers early detection, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension, irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, and other heart and circulatory system conditions.

“The previous Changing Cardiovascular Health policy lapsed a year and a half ago, and no evaluation or review has been conducted.

“It is not clear how much of the policy was implemented due to the lack of any significant dedicated oversight or implementation team.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail, and the health service is failing thousands with heart disease, hypertension, and tens of thousands of stroke survivors.

“Many if not most with hypertension are unaware of their condition, which is generally a consequence of ageing.

“The lack of an overarching framework is a recipe for failure.”

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