Pat the Cope Gallagher TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children at the Irish launch of the European Heart Health Charter in Merrion Hotel, Dublin.
Cardiovascular disease is still the biggest cause of illness, death and reduced quality of life both in Ireland and across the EU. During Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union in 2004 cardiovascular health was a priority topic. At the Cork Conference that year 25 countries reached agreement on the best approaches for promoting heart health and tackling heart disease. This marked the beginning a consistent approach for heart health promotion across all EU Member States.
In Ireland the Government has committed over €60 million since 2000 towards the implementation of the Cardiovascular Health Strategy, Building Healthier Hearts. This funding has supported a wide range of new services and initiatives. These have had a positive impact on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart disease.
In addition the Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death published its report in March 2006. It makes recommendations on the prevention of sudden cardiac death and on the detection of those at high risk. The HSE was charged with implementing its recommendations and is ensuring that we have progress on the key recommendations of the report.
There have been many important changes since the launch of Building Healthier Hearts. The health service itself has changed with the establishment of the HSE. There have been advances in medicine. Our population profile has changed. There have been changes in people’s lifestyles – some have even been positive!
As Minister with responsibility for Health Promotion I am committed to overseeing the development of a new cardiovascular health strategy – one that will build on the successes of Building Healthier Hearts, taking into account the changed landscape of today’s Ireland. By supporting this Charter the government is declaring its ongoing commitment to promoting cardiovascular health.