Minister for health announces $220mil federal investment towards research for cardiovascular disease – 26TH FEBRUARY 2019

“Prevention is the best medicine for heart disease”. Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt, announced this morning at Royal North Shore Hospital that the Australian government is investing $220mil in its first ever national cardiovascular mission supporting medical breakthroughs for heart disease, which is Australia’s single leading cause of death.

“Medical research at its best is about going from bench to bedside” the Hon. Greg Hunt says.  This first ever national cardiovascular mission will “focus on better diagnosis, better treatment, potential for a cure, and above all else will focus on prevention as the best medicine for heart disease.”

Every day 51 Australians die from heart disease killing one of us every 28 minutes¹. With approximately 70% of 30-65yo Australians reportedly being told by their doctor they have at least one risk factor for heart disease², it represents a huge cost to the health budget.  Cardiovascular disease currently costs the health budget approximately $8.8 billion each year³ with this cost set to rise even further˜ with the ageing population.  Investment from the government in cardiovascular research means a healthier future and working towards a future free from heart disease.

Heart Research Australia’s CEO Nicci Dent says, “with the impact of heart disease on the health budget, lost productivity and the terrible impact on families and friends this is something we must and can do something about. This additional government funding for research into heart disease will enable vital life-saving research to find much needed breakthroughs into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment for heart disease.”

This funding commitment from the federal minister for health follows the recent announcement of a new dedicated Medicare item for heart heath checks supporting GPs and patients in assessing cardiovascular risk from April 1. This Medicare support for early identification coupled with the increase in investment for research will save and protect many lives which would potentially fall victim to heart disease.

Ms Dent says, “whilst death rates have declined, heart disease is still not sufficiently understood, if it were, disability and death rates from cardiovascular disease wouldn’t be so high.”  Cardiovascular research has delivered the highest returns on investment for chronic conditions, with a benefit to cost ratio of up to $9.80 for every dollar investedˆ.

Heart Research Australia supports ‘seed’ funding for researchers to help them achieve early results for innovative, ‘out of the notebook’ ideas, increasing their likely success of government funding grants.  With the recent announcement of an increase in government funding, this early backing of research is now more vital than ever. To support this seed funding allowing more research to reach a stage to receive government funding donate now.

Heart Research Australia commends the governments’ announcement to invest more in heart research.  It’s the best way to help reduce the terrible toll on our community and bring down the costs for the health budget. Together we can change the future of heart disease and keep families together for longer.

The Medical Research Future Fund’s Mission for Cardiovascular Health program was made possible by a coalition of the country’s leading heart researchers, known as the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) who have rallied for fairer funding for cardiovascular disease research.

¹ Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Causes of Death 2017, ABS cat. no. 3303.0, September.
² National Heart Foundation, 2017. HeartWatch Survey, customised data, April 2018.
³ Deloitte Access Economics. Healthcare expenditure and productivity cost savings resulting from increased intake of grain fibre in Australia. Sydney: Kellogg Australia; 2017, https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/ pages/economics/articles/expenditure-savings-increased- intake-grain-fibre-australia.html.
˜ Maticevic J. Projecting preventable cardiovascular disease burden due to modi?able risk factors in Western Australia to 2025. Perth: Heart Foundation WA; 2017.
ˆ Deloitte Access Economics. Australia’s health and medical research work-force: Expert people providing exceptional returns. Canberra: Australian Society for Medical Research; 2016, https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/ pages/economics/articles/australias-health-and-medical-research- workforce.html.


Images supplied by ACvA