Healthy Ireland plan to help Waterford people reach their full potential

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Minister Catherine Byrne launches South East Community Healthcare’s Healthy Ireland implementation plan

Minister Catherine Byrne launches South East Community Healthcare’s Healthy Ireland implementation plan

The Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Health Promotion Catherine Byrne was in Kilkenny on Thursday to launch South East Community Healthcare’s Healthy Ireland implementation plan.

The South East Community Healthcare organisation delivers primary care (including community services), social care (including services for disabilities and older people), mental health, and health and well-being services in counties Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary and Wexford. 

The government supported Healthy Ireland Framework 2013-2025 underpins Ireland's response to its changing health and well-being profile. It identifies a healthy population as a major asset for society, setting the improvement in the health and well-being of the nation as a priority.

The framework draws on existing policies but also proposes new arrangements to ensure effective co-operation and collaboration to implement evidence based policies at government, sectoral, community and local levels. 

The aim of our Healthy Ireland plan for the South East Community Healthcare area is to support people living in counties Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary and Wexford to be happy, healthy and well in order to reach their full potential.

In setting out the plan, South East Community Healthcare is aware that many factors can influence a person’s health, such as where they live and work; their access to education and to job opportunities; their individual lifestyle choices; and their social supports and access to amenities such as clean water and transport.

Because health can be influenced by many determinants outside of the health service itself, South East Community Healthcare is linking closely with partners, through joint committees such as the Local Community Development Committees of the five local authorities in the South East and Children and Young People’s Services Committees in each of the five counties to ensure that agencies are all working together to create a happier, healthier region. Routes and strategies to achieve these goals, in which all people and all parts of society can participate, are set out in the plan.

Speaking at the official launch in the Parade Tower at Kilkenny Castle, Minister Byrne said: “I am delighted that South East Community Healthcare will compliment that with its own implementation plan, towards the shared aim of a healthy Ireland where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and well-being to their full potential, where well-being is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone’s responsibility.

"The South East plan sets out how we can increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life, reduce health inequalities, protect the public from threats to health and well-being, and create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their part in achieving a healthy Ireland.”

Presentations were also made at the launch on Healthy Ireland initiatives already underway in the South East.

In her summary, South East Community Healthcare’s head of service for health and well-being Dr Derval Howley said: 

“In addition to partnership working, our plan focuses on positively influencing the lifestyle choices that people make in relation to smoking, alcohol, sexual health, healthy eating and physical activity. Our health services protect our population from threats to their health and well-being through the provision of immunisation and vaccination programmes and infectious disease monitoring.

"We work with our National Health Services to reduce morbidity by enhancing the up-take of screening programmes such as BreastCheck, CervicalCheck, Bowelscreen and Diabetic RetinaScreen. Our healthcare teams are committed to supporting people at all stages of life, from the very young through to positive ageing for our older population. We adopt a life course approach to promoting health and well-being.

“There are challenges. We know that the greatest population growth within the South East is among our older adults. The increase will also be reflected in numbers of carers. We have many population groups in our region who have specific health needs. The uptake of our childhood immunisation programme in South East Community Healthcare needs to be above the national target of 95%. The uptake of the staff influenza vaccine, whilst improving, must increase.

"There has been an increase in the number of people with self-reported poor health in South East Community Healthcare compared to 2011. It is important that we also ensure that our workforce is happy, healthy and well. We look forward, however, to continuing to work with everyone, to make the South East a happy, healthy place for people to live, work and grow.”