THE death toll from heart disease is likely to fall after the federal budget funded three key initiatives — a $ 20 million anti-smoking campaign, updated heart disease risk guidelines and post heart attack support.
The measures are the latest victory for the #ShowSomeTicker campaign run in partnership between the Heart Foundation and News Corp papers.
The campaign has so far generated political action of some kind from both sides of politics to six of our seven key demands.
Health Minister Greg Hunt announced this week he would provide funding of $ 500,000 to update the 2012 Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk Assessment Guidelines to reflect current best practice evidence.
Revision of these guidelines will ensure health professionals have the latest data to better detect cardiovascular disease and manage patients with the condition.
He also outlined funding of $ 1 million for expert organisations to develop initiatives to support Australians at high risk of heart disease and stroke.
A further $ 1.7 million was allocated for activities to support Australians following an event of heart disease or stroke.
The budget also contained a promise to spend $ 20 million on a pivotal anti-smoking campaign that will tackle one of the biggest causes of heart disease.
Labor pledged to spend a similar amount on anti-tobacco campaigns at the last election and has signalled it will announce a similar plan this election.
Both the Labor Party and the Government have already committed to fund a Medicare rebate for a new Heart Health Check that became available last week.
The Heart Foundation estimates the heart health check will prevent more than 9000 deaths and 76,500 heart attacks over the next five years by identifying people at risk and managing them appropriately.
The Labor Party has pledged to provide $ 300,000 so 30 communities can provide education to women about how they experience heart attacks differently to men so they can seek help early.
And it says it will develop an updated national nutrition strategy if it wins the May election to reduce heart disease caused by poor diet and obesity.
The Government has written to Professor Gemma Figtree, chair of the Australian Cardiovascular Mission asking her to oversee and develop a response to the matters raised by the Heart Foundation and to help improve women’s cardiac diagnosis.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has responded to our call for action on doubling places in cardiac rehabilitation places and auditing the services already provided by writing to every state to ask them to set up registries for the programs.
In October, the government held a National Obesity summit and a strategy is being developed as a result of that meeting.
The government has provided funding for research to develop a Rheumatic heart disease vaccine but neither side of politics has yet offered money for a 10-year strategy to beat the disease.