‘This Budget has delivered on strengthening the health system through investment in Medicare, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, mental and preventive health and medical research as well as a number of specific initiatives in areas vital to supporting people with heart conditions,’ said Heart Support Australia CEO Kelli Sadler.
‘This Budget has struck a good balance between preventing heart conditions
and addressing the needs of those who have had a heart event,’ Ms Sadler said.
On the prevention side, the Healthy Heart Initiative provides targeted activities for
increasing activity levels and healthy lifestyles with $10m to get more Australians
walking. A further $5 million is provided for GPs to support people to lead a healthy
lifestyle. Funding of $10m for preventive health research is a welcome initiative.
Cardiovascular disease affects more than 3.7 million people in Australia leading to
1.2 million experiencing disability as a result, and accounts for around 160,000
deaths per year. It is currently the leading cause of death in Australia (AIHW: 2016).
For Heart Support Australia members who are living with existing heart conditions, a
Budget targeting prevention of secondary events is very positive. The listing of new
heart medications Valsartan (Entresto) and Sacubitril ($514.6m) is good news for
those with chronic heart failure.
Other positive treatment and support measures include a new MBS service to lower
the risk of stroke for heart patients unable to tolerate blood thinners and a cardiac
devices registry to drive improvements in safety and quality of clinical care for those
with high risk cardiac devices.
‘It is pleasing to see the Budget address heart disease which is the single
biggest cause of death in Australia. This will make a real and lasting difference
in terms of health, social and economic impact of cardiovascular disease in
Australia. Consumers, their families and carers will benefit from support that
enables them to lead productive and healthy lives before and beyond a heart
event,’ Ms Sadler said.
Heart Support Australia (HS-A) has operated for 28 years as the national
organisation supporting people with a heart condition. HS-A’s vision is to work
towards minimising the psycho/social and physical impact of cardiac conditions for
consumers and their family and carers.