Press Release

Minister Harney announces the publication of a Policy Framework for the Management of Chronic Diseases

Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health and Children, speaking at the opening of the National Health Consultative Forum in Galway today, (10th April, 2008), announced the publication of a Policy Framework for the Management of Chronic Diseases entitled, ‘Tackling Chronic Disease’ which is one of the key themes of the Forum.

The Framework outlines the burden of chronic disease and points to the need for an integrated approach to tackle both the prevention and management of chronic diseases. Whilst acknowledging the improvement in the health of the Irish people over the past decade, the Minister pointed to our ageing population and adverse trends in diet, exercise, high blood pressure and cholesterol which will inevitably lead to an increase in the level of chronic conditions.

The framework sets out the principles which should be applied for effective and efficient management of chronic conditions, including:

•The national focus on population directed disease prevention and health promotion

•The need to develop structured, planned care for patients with long-term chronic conditions

•The use of information systems and registers to plan and evaluate care for individuals with chronic disease

•The use of information systems and registers to plan and evaluate care for individuals with chronic disease

•The need to develop a model of shared care that is integrated across organisational boundaries

•The need to develop a model of shared care that is integrated across organisational boundaries

•The requirement to support and strengthen self-care

•Provision of supportive clinical decision systems such as clinical guidelines for the management of chronic disease

•Planning care that is delivered in the appropriate setting

•The central role of primary health care in the care of patients with chronic diseases.

•Providing a monitoring and evaluation framework for chronic disease programmes.

Announcing the publication, Minister Harney said “there are many ways to reduce the challenges associated with chronic disease. Many individuals with a chronic condition currently have their care in hospitals. Greater emphasis is needed on prevention and much of this care should take place within the primary care setting, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and improving quality of life for people with a chronic condition.”

The Policy Framework is available here