Press Release

Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer

The second annual report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health and Children was published to-day (19 September 2001). It is concerned with the issue of children’s health in Ireland and is entitled simply, “The Health of our Children”.

“While very significant progress has been made in recent decades in the health of our children, more requires to be done to be on a par with our European partners. The needs of our children are becoming more complex and our response needs to be more holistic and child-centred,” the Chief Medical Officer said.

The report acknowledges the very important contribution of the excellent services which are being provided by way of cure and rehabilitation for children with health needs. However, a greater emphasis is needed on prevention and health promotion in our approach to children´s health.

In welcoming the report, the Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin TD, described it as an important contribution to the debate on our children, their needs and their future. “It can now be considered in conjunction with the National Children´s Strategy which was published by the Government in November 2000. This ten year plan to improve the quality of children´s lives includes a major reform of how the government co-ordinates and and delivers services for children,” the Minister said.

The Report calls for specific considerations in the context of the on-going work on the new Health Strategy by the Department of Health and Children with the Health Boards and the Eastern Regional Health Authority. These include the question of eligibility for services for children, a national strategy to prevent accidents in childhood and measures which would reduce the availability and consumption of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs by our children.

The Report also reviews progress in relation to many of the general issues highlighted in the First Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, communicable disease and in particular health inequalities.