Advocating for better heart health

Paul Hayes

24/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel has called on federal decision-makers to reconsider the direction of healthcare funding for cardiovascular disease (CVD), a major cause of death in Australia that kills one person every 12 minutes.

Dr Bastian Seidel believes patients want health results rather than greater levels of treatment.
Dr Bastian Seidel believes patients want health results rather than greater levels of treatment.

‘We need to shift the funding focus from procedural treatments in a hospital setting to preventive patient centered initiatives in the community,’ he said at today’s Heart Health forum in Canberra. ‘In the last federal budget, $500 million was allocated for the treatment of new medication for moderate-to-severe heart failure. Imagine the opportunities if we funded preventing the same heart failure in the first place.
‘Patients want health, not necessarily fancy treatment.’
The forum included the launch of the Heart health: the first step to getting Australia’s health on track calls policy paper. Developed by Victoria University’s Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC), the paper calls for the Absolute Cardiovascular Risk Assessment (ACVR) online screening tool to be embedded into routine GP visits for all patients over the age of 45.
‘ACVR is a major opportunity for the Federal Government to invest in effective, international-standard prevention,’ AHPC Director Rosemary Calder said.
The Heart Health paper recommends the initiative be supported by the Medicare Benefits Schedule and promoted through the community and Primary Health Networks.
Regardless of funding, Dr Seidel urged the Australian healthcare profession to continue striving for improvements in reducing – and ultimately preventing – premature CVD.
‘We have reduced the incidence of ischemic heart disease by 30% over the last seven years and that is something we should be proud of. But we cannot rest on our laurels,’ he said. ‘Premature cardiovascular disease deserves to be prevented, because it can be prevented.’

cardiovascular-disease CVD heart-health

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