Putting a health inequalities focus on the Northern Ireland cardiovascular service framework

The PHA, supported by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) and other agencies and individuals, has completed a health impact assessment (HIA) on the Cardiovascular Service Framework (CVSFW) for Northern Ireland.The CVSFW is the first in a series of service frameworks developed in Northern Ireland to guide HSC provision from prevention and health improvement over early intervention in communities and general practice into hospital and other institutional settings towards rehabilitation, palliative care and end of life.The CVSFW is relevant to everyone who has a part in HSC services for health improvement, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), peripheral vascular disease and renal disease. This includes patients, carers, families, communities, voluntary and statutory service providers, policy makers and researchers. There are many determinants which impact on cardiovascular disease. Individual lifestyles are major contributors and smoking remains one of the biggest risk factors for the disease alongside sedentary lifestyles and alcohol consumption. Circumstances experienced during the early years influence health and wellbeing into adulthood. Breastfeeding can help protect against obesity, while physical activity and eating habits developed from a young age often form lifelong patterns of behaviour. Living and working conditions also impact on health. Type of job, level of control and employment conditions are major factors. Educational achievement and income are also powerful influences on health. The environment where we live can provide access to open and green space, which plays an important part in physical activity patterns alongside available transport infrastructure. As well as physical health impacts, all of these factors also influence mental health and emotional wellbeing.
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