This new policy, Changing Cardiovascular Health, covering the period 2010-2019, addresses the spectrum of cardiovascular disease and stroke, including prevention and management and how these are integrated to reduce the burden of these conditions. It covers the whole area of prevention, including measures that individuals can take as well as population interventions, and areas in which intersectoral action is necessary. It deals with the clinical management of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and covers all aspects of healthcare – from childhood through old age, from pre-hospital emergency care to rehabilitation and palliative care.
The policy is being launched in a challenging economic climate with little prospect of additional resources. However, the policy covers the period 2010-2019 and much can be done to advance it in tandem with other national strategies and the reorganisation of current resources. The Health Service Executive has been tasked with developing an implementation plan detailing how it intends to arrange services to support the delivery of care.
This policy represents a significant development coming after previous policies on cancer and diabetes, which together will account for the majority of healthcare in this country. The policy will operate alongside and complement existing policies on obesity, alcohol and chronic disease. The review is timely given the considerable changes in health services, the impact of unhealthy lifestyles, the future demand on health services and the scope for substantial improvements in cardiovascular mortality in the years to come. I am confident that this policy paves the way for enhanced prevention and care of cardiovascular disease and stroke in the next decade and will mark a new chapter for service delivery in this area.
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