Work of the Australian Government on cardiovascular disease

The Australian Government provides support for prevention and optimal management of cadiovascular disease (CVD) through a broad range of national programs.

Page last updated: 31 March 2011

The Australian Government provides support for prevention and optimal management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) through a broad range of national programs.

In this section:

Preventing CVD

The Australian Government is aware of the significant burden that CVD has on individuals and their families and is committed to working towards the broad prevention of the disease, and its associated complications, in the Australian community.

The Government has committed $872.1 million over six years (from 2009-10) under the COAG National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health (NPAPH). This is the largest single commitment to health promotion by an Australian government.

The NPAPH seeks to address the rising prevalence of lifestyle related chronic disease by laying the foundations for healthy behaviours in the daily lives of Australians through settings such as communities, early childhood education and care environments, schools and workplaces, supported by national social marketing campaigns (Measure Up and an anti-smoking campaign).

A key element of the NPAPH involved the establishment of a new Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA). The Agency commenced operations in early 2011, with an initial focus on obesity, alcohol and tobacco use.

In addition, the Government has made an $805.5 million commitment over four years to 2012-13 for an Indigenous Chronic Disease Package as its contribution to the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. The Package is helping to improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of chronic diseases, such as CVD, in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Rheumatic Fever Strategy aims to address acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) among Indigenous children, by providing a coordinated program of prevention and treatment as a first step towards eradicating this disease. The strategy is funding state-based register and control programs in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, and a national coordination unit (RHD Australia), to improve clinical responses to acute rheumatic fever, and to establish a national data collection system to support the monitoring and treatment of ARF and RHD.

More information on key Australian Government initiatives and campaigns that support the prevention of chronic diseases generally, and CVD in particular, can be found via the following links:

Information Initiatives Campaigns

Supporting people with CVD

In situations where onset of the disease cannot be prevented, the Australian Government is striving to ensure that people with CVD have access to the most effective, up to date and clinically robust means available for managing and treating their condition.

In 2004-05, CVD accounted for 11% (more than $5.9 billion) of total health care expenditure in Australia – more than any other disease group1.

Support for people living with CVD includes subsidising cardiovascular medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program supports general practices to improve clinical health outcomes and maintain the health of patients with chronic and complex conditions.

The Australian Government also supports CVD management by rebating GP and allied health services through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). The chronic disease management (CDM) Medicare items aim to improve planning and coordination of care by GPs for people with chronic medical conditions and complex care needs, and encourage a multidisciplinary approach to health care. Once a GP management plan (MBS item 721) and team care arrangements (MBS item 723) are in place, a GP can refer a patient to allied health services. Patients with CVD who have a GP management plan, can also access group services provided by Medicare eligible exercise physiologists and dietitians on referral from the GP.

Additionally, the Australian Government also provided over $300 million, in 2011-12, to improve the access of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to comprehensive primary health care services. This funding is made available through over 200 organisations, most of which are Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), to provide services that are responsive to the needs of local communities. This may include clinical services for the treatment of acute illnesses, management of chronic conditions, emergency care and specific interventions and referral. The funding also supports population health programs such as health promotion. The services provided meet identified community priorities.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

Investing in CVD research

The Australian Government invests in CVD research through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). For the period spanning 2000 through 2011 (inclusive), around $787.6 million was expended on grants for 5,226 CVD research projects.

Monitoring CVD

The Australian Government funds the National Centre for Monitoring Cardiovascular Disease within the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The purpose of the Centre is to help reduce the health, social and economic burden of CVD in Australia by developing, collating and interpreting data relevant to CVD prevention, detection, management and care. This information is then made available to policy makers, clinicians, consumers and the public. The Australian Health Survey (AHS) is a population survey that aims to capture a picture of the health of all Australians. The measures of chronic disease risk factors and nutritional status that it takes reflect this objective. Measures are not chosen for their ability to diagnose individuals, but rather to identify differences in population sub-groups and to monitor trends over time. The 2011/13 AHS aims to collect information on diagnosed and undiagnosed cases of diseases (including CVD) to provide more accurate prevalence estimates, by collecting biomedical samples from survey participants and analysing these for chronic disease biomarkers.

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011): Cardiovascular disease: Australian facts 2011, page 167.

Page last reviewed: June 2012