Dáil Éireann - Volume 542 - 24 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Mortality Rates.

201. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children the rate of death from heart disease in each of the member states of the EU; [1682] and the EU average for each of the past three years. [25496/01]

203. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children the rate of death from cancer in each of the member states of the EU; and the EU average for the past three years. [25498/01]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 201 and 203 together.

Age-standardised mortality rates for EU countries are provided by the World Health Organisation and the latest year for which an EU average rate is available is 1997. The rates per 100,000 population for diseases of the circulatory system and for cancer are provided in the table below by country for the years 1995, 1996 and 1997.

Age-Standardised Mortality Rates per 100,000 Population for EU Countries, 1995 to 1997

Diseases of the

Circulatory System

Cancer

Country

1995

1996

1997

1995

1996

1997

Austria

369.3

367.0

355.7

188.9

184.6

182.3

Belgium

258.1

N.A.

N.A.

213.3

N.A.

N.A.

Denmark

316.0

286.1

N.A.

234.2

226.5

N.A.

Finland

354.0

326.0

314.0

163.0

160.1

159.1

France

182.7

181.6

175.6

193.0

191.9

187.8

Germany

343.8

335.2

323.8

196.7

194.2

189.4

Greece

340.9

334.6

325.0

163.0

162.6

161.3

Ireland

385.4

368.6

349.9

214.9

208.1

208.9

Italy

269.9

257.7

254.7

188.9

187.7

185.0

Luxembourg

284.8

300.1

277.1

208.7

197.2

193.0

Netherlands

269.3

261.2

249.0

206.8

207.9

204.6

Portugal

252.5

356.3

333.6

170.8

171.8

171.7

Spain

241.7

239.1

229.3

179.8

176.0

175.9

Sweden

295.9

286.9

N.A.

161.3

160.2

N.A

United Kingdom

317.2

306.3

292.1

206.5

202.9

198.1

EU Average

286.5

279.0

269.8

193.2

191.0

187.9

Note: N.A. indicates “Not Available”.

Source: Health for All Database, World Health Organisation.

202. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children the measures he has taken to reduce the death rate from heart disease since his appointment as Minister for Health and Children. [25497/01]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): The cardiovascular health strategy, Building Healthier Hearts, launched in July 1999, provides a strategic framework to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases in Ireland. The implementation of its 211 recommendations has commenced and will ultimately lead to a reduction of the incidence of premature death from cardiovascular diseases in Ireland from the position in 1998 of twice the EU average. At the launch of the strategy the Department set a medium-term objective to bring our levels of premature death from cardiovascular diseases in line with the EU [1683] average at a minimum and a long-term objective of reducing our rates to those of the best performers in the EU by 2010.

As a measure of the Government's commitment to the implementation of this report, structures were put in place at national, regional and local level to drive the implementation process, including the establishment of a heart health task force, an advisory forum on cardiovascular health, and an interdivisional working group within my Department. These structures have further been complemented by regional co-ordinating committees under each health board to give overall direction and impetus to the planned and structured implementation of the report. A total sum of £27 million, 34 million euros has been allocated towards the implementation of the cardiovascular health strategy, £12 million, 15 million euros in 2000 and £15 million, 19 million euros, in 2001. This funding has supported a wide range of additional regional services, initiatives and a total of 288 posts were filled in the year 2000. I will shortly publish a detailed progress report setting out national and regional developments since July 1999, under the strategy. The main national developments to date include a national media campaign “Ireland needs a Change of Heart”, which includes an all-island physical activity campaign, “get a life, get active”, and other health promotion campaigns such as NICO, an anti-smoking initiative, were developed and launched.

Nicotine replacement therapy, was introduced to GMS patients from April 2001. Some £3 million has been set aside under GMS for this initiative in 2001. A steering group has been established to advise on the first phase of a secondary prevention programme in general practice. The National Ambulance Advisory Council has been replaced, on a statutory basis, by the Pre-hospital Emergency Care Council.

A joint working chaired by Comhairle na nOspidéal produced an interim report in May 2001 on additional consultant cardiologist requirements for 2002 so that funding could be sought to fill the first of these posts during 2002. Specific developments included extension of the catheterisation laboratory in Cork University Hospital, a pacemaker service in the South-Eastern Health Board region, angioplasty services in the Mid-Western Health Board and provision of diagnostic coronary angiography at Sligo General Hospital on a sessional basis. Chest pain assessment facilities were considerably enhanced in the ERHA region. All boards have begun developing cardiac rehabilitation in acute hospitals. An additional £5 million – £4.5 million to the ERHA for adult and paediatric surgery and £500,000 to the Southern Health Board – for additional cardiac activity in Cork University Hospital, has been provided in 2001 to continue and progress the reduction of cardiac surgery waiting lists. The objective is to guarantee public hospital patients access to cardiac surgery within an average waiting period of six months from [1684] diagnosis. An additional £2.58 million, £2.08 million to the ERHA and £500,000 to the South Victoria Hospital, Cork, has been provided to address cardiovascular disease and to enhance the provision of services.

Question No. 203 answered with Question No. 201.