State Government Victoria Australia Department of Health header
State Government Victoria
Victorian Government Health Information
Health Home
Main A to Z Index | Site Map | About Health  

June 2013

Google Logo
Heart attack – learn the warning signs today. (Picture courtesy of the Heart Foundation)

$22 million funding to fight heart disease and stroke

The State Government will invest $21.9 million over four years to improve Victoria’s response to heart attacks and strokes.

‘Coronary heart disease is the single leading underlying cause of death of Victorians and cerebrovascular disease, which includes stroke, ranks second,’ said Health Minister David Davis.

‘Prompt medical treatment is vital in ensuring the survival and best possible outcomes for people experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

‘The first stage to improving our response will see Mobile Intensive Care Ambulances in one rural region carrying blood clot-dissolving drugs for the urgent care of people experiencing a heart attack.

‘The initiative would then be rolled out to all other regions.

‘People living in country Victoria are often further away from time-critical hospital treatment, so our initiative to provide blood clot-dissolving drugs before a heart attack patient reaches hospital will save lives.

‘In 2011/12, more than 55,000 admissions to our public hospitals were patients with a heart condition – including heart attacks and heart failure – and almost 13,000 admissions were for stroke patients.

‘Together, these patients used almost 300,000 bed-days in our hospitals, while a further 100,000 emergency department visits were for stroke patients or people with a cardiac condition or suspected cardiac condition.

Specialist advice to doctors and other health professionals, particularly in country Victoria, will be boosted to improve rapid response to heart attack and stroke and the ongoing care and management of people with heart or cerebrovascular diseases.

Better rehabilitation and support services will target initiatives to help patients recover from an acute episode, reduce the risk of them experiencing another life threatening event and support them in managing their condition.

‘People with chronic heart failure have particular and ongoing health needs,’ Mr Davis said.

‘They often have multiple admissions to hospital and presentations to emergency departments.

‘This initiative will provide for improved management and support, tailored to the needs of people with chronic heart failure, to improve their quality of life and reduce avoidable use of hospital services.

‘Statistics show that around 20 per cent of heart failure and arrhythmia patients were re-admitted within 30 days of discharge from hospital, so initiatives to keep them healthy in the community are of vital importance.’

Mr Davis said the heart disease and stroke initiative would also:

•             Provide more streamlined access for people who need heart surgery in the major specialist hospitals;

•             Improve rehabilitation and support to reduce the number of people with heart disease or stroke who need to be re-admitted to hospital or re-present to emergency departments;

•             Provide an improved suite of rehabilitation and support services in community-based health facilities.