The Government will spend $2.4 billion over five years to help reduce heart disease deaths and strokes in Australia, a plan that could save lives, a health expert says.
Key points: Australia is on track to have the highest number of heart disease cases in the world in 2020, but the number of people with a heart condition has fallen in recent yearsThe Government will provide $2 billion over the next five years for heart disease prevention and careThe move comes after more than 200,000 Australians had a stroke or a heart attack in 2020 and more than 20,000 were diagnosed with dementia.
A Government-commissioned study of Australia’s health system found that the country was on track for the highest percentage of heart attacks and strokes for the 20th consecutive year, with the average death rate for heart patients in 2020 sitting at 22.1 per 100,000 people.
Key points:The Government says it will provide the funds to help prevent a coronavirus pandemic in AustraliaThe move follows a similar announcement earlier this year that it would spend $6.6 billion over four years to provide heart disease and stroke prevention and support.
It comes after the Australian Government was accused of hypocrisy in not doing more to tackle the issue of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in its hospitals.
The Government has committed to funding a $1.5 billion COVID-19 prevention and early detection project in 2021 and a $2 million program to improve emergency department and long-term care outcomes for Australians with chronic obstructor diseases (CODD).
Health Minister Peter Dutton said the Government was committed to tackling the problem, but it would be difficult to deliver the full impact of its funding.
“The Government is committed to delivering the full and immediate impact of our COVID prevention and rapid response funding, but that requires an investment in resources to deliver a significant impact on the number and severity of coronaviruses and COVID,” he said.
“We will not get a return on the money we spend, but we will deliver the results.”
Mr Dutton pointed to the cost of a coronivirus pandemics prevention and response program in Victoria, where the Government has spent $2,822 million on the programme.
“When the Victorian Government announced they were going to spend $7.2 billion on their coronaviral pandemic, we got $1,637 million, which was not even the full amount that Victoria was spending on its COVID programs,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne’s AM program.
“And it has a long way to go to get to the $7 billion figure, and that is because Victoria has had a huge and massive coronavivirus outbreak and the Commonwealth has been funding them for years, but they have been underfunded.”
The Government’s plan also includes funding to improve the emergency department (ED) services, to ensure that emergency services were able to respond quickly to coronavirochic incidents, to increase awareness about the importance of testing, and to increase the number, type and severity for CODD patients.
“I think we have to recognise that in this day and age we are facing some really serious challenges in terms of the pandemic,” Dr Andrew Brown, Chief Medical Officer for the Health and Medical Research Council, told AM.
“Our current emergency department system is inadequate, it’s underfunded, it is outdated, and we have not seen any real improvement in terms