Health Minister NI Chest, Heart & Stroke Visit

23rd February 2024

Health Minister shows heart for the health of Antrim

February is Heart Month and leading local health charity Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke (NICHS) has been using the month to take to the road and bring their Heart Month tour to a number of locations throughout Northern Ireland. The charity was at The Junction, Antrim yesterday (Thursday 22nd February), with Health Minister Robin Swann also making a visit to show his support for the event.

Health Minister Robin Swann said; “I was very pleased to support Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s Heart Month tour.”

“It’s really important that people recognise the steps they can take to keep themselves healthy and also be aware of the factors that can increase their risk of having a heart attack or stroke.”

“Statistics show that high blood pressure is a risk factor in both heart attacks and strokes, while atrial fibrillation can increase a person’s chances of having a stroke if untreated – this demonstrates the importance of the checks being carried out by the teams today.”

Nadia Duncan, Donor Development Manager at NICHS said; “We were delighted to bring our Heart Month tour, supported by Balloo Hire, to Antrim and to have Minister Swann attend. Shockingly, coronary heart disease is the biggest single cause of premature deaths in people younger than 75 across Northern Ireland and 16 people have a heart attack here every day.”

“Our Health Promotion team delivered free atrial fibrillation (AF) tests and blood pressure checks at The Junction. AF is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. If untreated, AF can increase stroke risk by up to 5 times. Furthermore, 1 in 2 heart attacks and strokes are linked to high blood pressure so the checks carried out today really could have helped save someone’s life.”

Chris Flynn, Centre Director at The Junction said; “The Junction was delighted to host Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke during Heart Month to help support them with their work of raising awareness of and trying to prevent chest, heart and stroke illnesses in Northern Ireland. It was a fantastic day with lots on offer. We would also like to thank our customers for their generous support and donations to the charity.”

Nadia added; “Today also gave us a great opportunity to talk to the public and raise awareness of the work our charity does, from our care services and programmes to our health promotion programmes for workplaces, schools and community groups, and our support of ground-breaking research at local universities and hospitals. As well as raise awareness that as a charity we rely on the public’s support. Almost 90% of our income comes from public donations and without this support we would not be able to continue to provide life-changing services for local people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions and their families.”

“We would like to say a huge thank you to The Junction, Minister Swann and everyone who attended the event for supporting our Heart Month tour and helping make the day a great success.”


For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Nina Devine on 07971 542270 or 

About Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

NICHS’s vision is a healthy Northern Ireland free from chest, heart, and stroke illnesses. Established in 1946, we work with people of all ages across the country, delivering vital care and prevention services, supporting ground-breaking research and campaigning for change. Today, as many as 470,000 people in Northern Ireland are living with a chest, heart or stroke condition and we are committed to supporting them. With almost 90% of our work being funded exclusively by public donations we need your help to continue to help thousands of local people and their families rebuild their lives.