There are “gaping holes” in Ireland’s cardiovascular healthcare, according to a new report from the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health (NIPC).
The report outlines that cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills nearly 9,000 people in Ireland every year, despite an estimated 80% of premature CVD being preventable.
The report recommends a screening programme for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), a genetic condition which causes dangerously high cholesterol levels from birth. The report also details issues in the treatment and discharge of patients following the detection of CVD. These issues include long waiting times in public hospitals and the lack of tailored discharge plans for patients.
The NIPC and the National CVD Prevention Council is calling on the Government to develop a national strategy to tackle cardiovascular disease (CVD). According to the NIPC the previous national strategy expired in 2019 and has not been replaced.
“We know that there is real ambition to transform the Irish healthcare system. With Ireland’s ageing population, making the prioritisation of CVD prevention part of that transformation is more important than ever,” said Prof Bill McEvoy, NIPC’s Research and Medical Director.
“The lack of a national strategy for what is society’s greatest killer is a significant and worrying gap. CVD is a preventable disease, yet it kills nearly 9,000 people per year. We have previously demonstrated national leadership in the space through lasting actions such as the smoking ban; we now need to recognise that more needs to be done to tackle CVD.”
Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation said: “We face a groundswell of rising CVD risk factors from population ageing, obesity, to new environmental threats from climate change.”
“These challenges will result in a growing burden of disease and pressure on our healthcare system. To avoid this, we must identify any gaps in CVD prevention and management and ensure all patients requiring services to treat CVD should have access to timely, preventive care through the development of an annually reviewed national strategy that supports our health care system whilst saving lives.”