Press Release

Callely launches ERHA Heart Health Action Plan

Mr Ivor Callely TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, has today (22 October 2003) launched the Eastern Regional Health Authority´s new Heart Health Action Plan. The aim of this plan is to further reduce the heart disease mortality and morbidity experienced by people in the Eastern Region.

“Under the Cardiovascular Health Strategy, launched by the Taoiseach in 1999, the Government has committed €11.75 million to the ERHA during its first four years. In addition, approximately€5 million has been set aside for the GMS (Payments) Board for the introduction of Nicotine Replacement Therapy to GMS patients since April 2001. Nationally, we have funded the appointment of almost 800 new staff in the first years of implementation,” said the Minister

Cardiovascular disease remains the major cause of death in the Eastern Region as it is in the country as a whole. Death rates from coronary heart disease in Ireland are still considerably higher than the EU average. There is substantial evidence that cardiovascular disease is related to lifestyles and to modifiable risk factors. Healthy lifestyles and increasingly effective treatments help to reduce primary and secondary risk and alleviate symptoms of heart attack or stroke.

“The ERHA has shared in the service developments which have occurred at national level. Health promotion services have been established in each of the area health boards, with substantial input from the Cardiovascular Health Strategy. Access to smoking cessation services throughout the region will be particularly important with the planned expansion of smoke free workplaces to include restaurants and pubs next January,” said the Minister.

The Minister paid tribute to Dr Siobhán Jennings and all her team and thanked them for the valuable work they have done in implementing the Strategy in the Eastern Region and the development of this Action Plan. This will give direction for a sustained, directed and co-ordinated approach to the future implementation of the Cardiovascular Health Strategy in the eastern region.