Pharmacists warn of heart disease crisis
Pharmacists have warned that Ireland is facing a crisis in heart disease and have called on the Government to introduce a national heart disease screening programme.
The call was made at the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) national conference at the weekend.
Dublin pharmacist Bernard Duggan said approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke.
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in Ireland, accounting for 36% of all deaths. The largest number of these deaths relate to coronary heart disease - mainly heart attack - at 5,000.
Speaking at the conference, Bernard Duggan said "the introduction of screening for heart disease and other chronic diseases through pharmacies could directly reduce the number of deaths from heart disease each year in Ireland. This will not only save lives but will save money as well by reducing the need for expensive hospital care for those who are struck down with heart disease."
At the conference, pharmacists also strongly criticised the current shortage of key medicines, which they say is posing a risk to the health of some patients.
The IPU called on the Department of Health to ensure that an adequate supply of vital medicines is constantly available, so threats to patient safety are minimised.
New IPU President Rory O'Donnell, said for a number of years pharmacists and patients have had to endure medicine shortages, causing significant distress all round.
"The latest example is the shortage of Eltroxin, a drug used to treat thyroid problems,a common disorder. It is not acceptable in this day and age that the health of some patients is compromised due to a shortage of medicines".
[Posted: Mon 30/04/2012]