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Emma Smith

Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

This programme was agreed by Department of Health & Children, the Health Boards, and the Irish College of General Practitioners in collaboration with The Irish Heart Foundation.
It is focused on secondary prevention amongst those with significant proven cardiovascular disease as defined.
The report of the Cardiovascular Strategy Group, 'Building Healthier Hearts' recommends (R6.21) that 'secondary prevention for most patients with cardiovascular disease should be provided in the general practice setting'. This programme is based on that assertion. It also presumes that most patients will normally return to the care of their GPs following a cardiovascular event without undue delay.

Using a Standard Protocol

The programme employs a standardised approach as called for in the National Strategy. It adheres to internationally recognized cardiovascular prevention guidelines ('Prevention of Coronary Disease in Clinical Practice 1998' Second Joint Task Force of European and other Societies on Coronary Prevention.)
The guidelines are used:

  • To determine the risk factors to be used in follow up.
  • To determine the interventions to be used to achieve control.
  • To determine the clinical events to be monitored for the purpose of evaluating progress

The programme provides a protocol for the continuing care of eligible patients including a schedule of four visits per annum initially, and details of the risk factors to be measured with targets levels of control to be achieved.

Who's Involved

The parties involved in setting up Heartwatch are:

  • ICGP - National Programme Centre (see below)
  • Independent National Data Centre
  • Irish Heart Foundation
  • Department of Health and Children
  • Irish Medical Organisation
  • Health Boards

Independent National Data Centre

The INDC serves as a national primary collection point for all data returned by doctors and their practices. The centre is independent of the ICGP, Department of Health & Children and Health Boards. The INDC is located at 4-5 Lincoln Place, Dublin 2. 90% of the data transferred from the practices to the INDC is by electronic means. This data will be available to approved bodies in amalgamated form only. Actual patient identity is not included in the individual data returned to the data centre and confidentiality and security is maintained at all times.

National Programme Centre

The National Programme Centre (NPC) is located at 4-5 Lincoln Place, Dublin 2 and comprises:

The NPC, in collaboration with all the interested parties will devise, co-ordinate and implement the programme nationally. It ensures local and national quality assurance based on regular review:

  • By regular review of the aggregated data from the NDC.
  • By eliciting feedback on the operation of the programme from GPs, Health Boards and the regional partners.
  • By instituting quality improvement measures based on this information.