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Harsh Budget twist may await Australian hearts just days after Heart Week

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Harsh Budget twist may await Australian hearts just days after Heart Week

Media release: 27 April, 2023

There are mounting concerns that the Australian Government will slash Australia’s only lifesaving heart health check from Medicare just days after Heart Week (1st-7th May), the national week devoted to encouraging Australians to take-up the very same check.

The Heart Foundation and its sector peers are yet to hear from the Australian Government as to whether or not it will continue to fund Medicare Heart Health Checks beyond 30 June – a decision that it seems will only be shared in the Federal Budget, just days after Heart Week.

In the meantime, public support continues to surge for the Check with more than 25,000 Australians having now signed a Heart Foundation petition calling on the Federal Government to extend the Medicare Heart Health Check beyond June 30th. That equates to one signature every 90 seconds.

The Check takes less than 30 minutes with a GP and is the nation’s best tool for preventing heart disease. Around 18,000 Australians die each year from heart disease with thousands more hospitalised with heart attacks.

Heart Foundation healthcare programs manager Natalie Raffoul said the lack of clarity for Australians was confusing.

“We are now at a point where regardless of the decision it is clear this has been a confusing situation for patients, and one that does not treat heart disease and the Australians at-risk of experiencing it with the respect they deserve,” Ms Raffoul said.

“The problem with heart disease is that the first symptom can very often be a heart attack and these are life-changing events that even when survived have tremendous economic, social and health consequences for individuals and their families, as well as our primary and secondary healthcare systems.

“We are disappointed to not have assurance that the Government is committed to funding the Medicare Heart Health Check, but we are so grateful for the support and care shown by Australians which is why we will continue to share the Heart Health Check message during Heart Week in the hope that those who are age-eligible can still get one before 30 June.”

The Heart Foundation has opened a petition which people can sign: 

From the petition, Australians can contact their local MP to ask for support, or share with family and friends for them to sign.

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Heart, stroke and vascular diseases: Australian facts. 2023.

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Last updated27 April 2023