Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Statements by Senators
I went and got a check up at the Heart Foundation today, and, before you start getting too upset and dragging out the tissues, I'm fine! Alright? I'm not ready to kick the bucket yet—just to put you at peace! In 2019, the Heart Foundation worked with parliamentarians to deliver an important reform for Aussie hearts: the introduction of a Medicare funded heart health check. Since then, over 360,000 Australians have seen their GPs to have their hearts checked, which is possibly the most important step they could take to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
The heart health check Medicare item is now due to expire in June 2023, and this is why they need our help and our lobbying to ensure this is kept for Australians. Having a permanent heart health check Medicare item will ensure that risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or CVD, are detected and treated earlier. This will in turn save more lives and reduce the burden of this on the health system.
Just to let you know: 1.2 million Australians have conditions related to heart or vascular disease or stroke. In 2018-19, there were 591,000 hospitalisations with cardiovascular disease—5.2 per cent of all hospitalisations. Cardiovascular disease caused 42,300 deaths in 2019, making up a quarter of all deaths in Australia. It costs $11.5 million a year for this service to be provided to Australians. Over a period of five years it has saved the economy $1.75 billion dollars, with people getting risk assessed in the first place with this check rather than trying to fix it up afterwards when they have heart attacks.
I am calling on the parliament and the Labor government: please, if you can put $100 million into Aboriginal communities for climate change, then why can't we support all Australians with $11.5 million a year? (Time expired)