Hearts and Minds Campaign
Australia needs a national action plan for heart attack and stroke
The Heart Foundation has joined with the Stroke Foundation to call for a funded national action plan to reduce death and suffering from cardiovascular disease – heart, stroke and blood vessel disease.
While cardiovascular disease has been listed by federal, state and territory governments as a national priority area, it’s a priority in name only with few targeted, national programs to enhance services and improve outcomes.
The Heart and Stroke Foundations have developed a series of policy proposals to:
- save lives
- reduce avoidable hospital admissions
- improve quality, efficiency and effectiveness of care.
- Boosting referral rates to cardiac rehabilitation programs
- Cutting salt from food products through food reformulation
- Placing stroke units in all hospitals that should have them, but don’t
- Funding vascular health checks to ensure early detection and interventions for those at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Why we need a national action plan for heart attack and stroke?
Cardiovascular disease – principally heart attack and stroke – remains Australia’s biggest killer, causing one-in three deaths.
More than 100,000 Australians each year suffer a heart attack or stroke.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) comprises 18% of the total burden of disease and injury and places enormous financial strain on federal, state and territory health budgets.
CVD is the most costly of all disease groups, at $7.9 billion in direct health care spending (2008-09), 11% of total spending.
Although mortality rates have been slowly coming down over the decades and more people are surviving heart attacks and strokes, more than 3.4 million Australians are living with some form of cardiovascular disease. This places people at a higher risk of another event and therefore a lot more needs to be done to improve outcomes and quality of care. It is vital that more attention is given to those who have suffered a heart attack or stroke, as if they don’t receive life preserving secondary prevention they are very likely to have a further event, most likely leading to further disability.
Heart Foundation 2013 advocacy check-list - some of the big announcements so far this year...
Cardiac devices register R »$6m Announced in Federal Budget
Front-of-pack labelling R Star rating system endorsed
Food reformulation R $0.8m Announced in May
Renewal of Close the Gap R $777m Announced in May
Tobacco tax R Above CPI indexation announced in
End government investment R Future Fund divestment in tobacco
companies in tobacco industry
‘Positive provision’ for walking R Announced in March in response to
Moving People 2030 report
Walking, cycling white paper Announcement expected July-Aug
Burden of disease study R $5m Announced in May
General practice policy paper
The Heart Foundation calls for the implementation of a national comprehensive approach to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in primary care, with appropriate funding arrangements. This approach should include initiatives to improve the implementation of clinical guidelines and a suite of complementary initiatives to improve early detection, management and care of people with, or at risk of, CVD.
The Heart Foundation called on the Australian Government to take immediate action to end the Future Fund investment in tobacco companies. The Heart Foundtion welcomed the recent announcement that this investment will end.
The Heart Foundation welcomed the recent (14 June 2013) announcement by food regulation ministers that a new star-based front-of-pack labelling system will be adopted. The star system has been developed over the past 18 months by government, industry and health/consumer groups, including the Heart Foundation.
The star system will be voluntary but if within two years it is not wide spread and implemented as agreed, ministers might make it mandatory.