House debates

Monday, 15 June 2020

Private Members' Business

Heart Failure

7:07 pm

Photo of John AlexanderJohn Alexander (Bennelong, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that between 1 and 2 per cent of the Australian population suffers from heart failure, with this proportion higher in Indigenous communities;

(2) acknowledges with concern the rising cost of care for the growing number of Australians with heart failure, including the duration and frequency of hospitalisation, medical management and health complications;

(3) further notes that research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that over 60,000 heart failure hospital admissions, amounting to over 400,000 bed days and a cost to the healthcare system of $3.9 billion are potentially preventable;

(4) welcomes the arrival of proven technologies, including trans catheter mitral valve repair, which have demonstrated transformative improvements in addressing underlying causes of heart failure including functional and degenerative mitral regurgitation;

(5) commends the support given by clinicians, advocates, carers and families of Australians suffering from heart failure;

(6) welcomes with appreciation the announcement of the Government's commitment of $220 million over 10 years for the Cardiovascular Mission under the Medical Research Fund;

(7) acknowledges the Government's commitment to address all forms of heart disease under the National Action Plan for Heart and Stroke;

(8) notes the current consideration by the Medical Services Advisory Committee of transcatheter mitral valve repair; and

(9) calls on the Government to ensure all Australians have early access to proven procedures and technologies, such as transcatheter mitral valve repair, where indicated, to address the rising healthcare burden and premature mortality represented by heart failure.

I'm delighted to bring forward this motion on this critical topic. I'm very proud to be the co-chair of the parliamentary friends of heart health and to be joined here today by my co-chair and seconder, the member for Calwell. Heart health is an area that is getting more attention at the present. Much of it is overdue. Just last week we launched a Baker report into cardiovascular disease, which for the first time in a decade outlined new data highlighting the extent of the cholesterol problem amongst high-risk patients in Australia. It identified a critical and timely opportunity to invest in greater awareness and support for cholesterol management.

Today, however, we are looking at the treatment rather than the prevention. Heart failure occurs when the heart functions less effectively in its role of pumping blood around the body. Although it can occur suddenly, it usually develops over many years as the heart gradually becomes weaker and works less effectively. An estimated 104,900 people aged 18 and over have had heart failure in 2017-18, although the number may be much higher. There were around 178,300 hospitalisations where heart failure and cardiomyopathy were recorded as the principal or additional diagnosis in 2016-17. This represents 1.6 per cent of all hospitalisations in Australia.

One of the causes of heart failure is mitral regurgitation, or MR. If untreated, MR initiates a cascade of events in patients' lives, progressing to heart failure then premature death. The prognosis for these Australians is likely untimely death after multiple hospitalisations, which could potentially be avoided through life-improving therapies. Tens of thousands of hospital admissions could be prevented, saving up to $3.9 billion annually to the Australian health-care system.

Transcatheter mitral valve repair is one treatment which has the ability to change peoples' lives by inserting a clip into the heart to seal any leakages. This treatment is clinically safe, effective and a well-recognised, minimally invasive treatment option for MR patients with high clinical need. It has been successfully performed in over 100,000 patients worldwide. Treatments like this could save our health budgets dramatically but, more importantly, they will give the opportunity of a long and healthy life for those who benefit from this treatment. Friend of the parliamentary friends, Tanya Hall from hearts4heart, has been advocating for this along with many other reforms and has provided me with a number of patient case studies. One in particular that stood out was a young man named George, who noticed he was struggling while playing soccer. It turned out he had a severely leaking mitral valve. The clip saved his life, making his heart stronger so he could face further treatment and sustaining him while he waited for open heart surgery for his broader issues. He is now back in the workforce and a fully engaged member of our society.

This should be the critical aim of our health care: to get people back to the lives they had before. I know that MSAC considered an application for transcatheter mitral valve repair at their recent April meeting, and we look forward to hearing their resolutions.

Meanwhile, the government has been making some incredible headway in the heart health space. The government has committed $220 million for the Medical Research Future Fund for the 10-year. Also in the MRFF is the $125 million Targeted Translation Research Accelerator, which will have an initial priority on cardiovascular disease and diabetes commencing this year, as well as the $6 million Australian Genomics Health Alliance Cardiovascular Genetic Disorders Flagship 2018 to 2020 investment to expand current activities and pilot a model for congenital heart disease with a project to deliver genomic testing to 600 families with CHD arrhythmia disorders and cardiomyopathies.

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Fisher, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Is the motion seconded?

Photo of David GillespieDavid Gillespie (Lyne, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Fisher, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 19:30