Protecting Australians against heart disease

The Albanese Government is acting to protect Australians against our country’s biggest killer – heart disease.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Albanese Government is acting to protect Australians against our country’s biggest killer – heart disease. 

  As part of the 2023–24 Budget, the Albanese Government will extend the Medicare rebate (items 177 and 699) for heart health assessments until 30 June 2025. 

 Each day 438 Australians are hospitalised with coronary heart disease. 

Heart disease is responsible for almost 1 in 10 deaths and for 6% of Australia’s total disease burden.  

Many Australians don’t know they are at risk of heart disease, as some factors – such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol – might not be noticeable without a medical assessment.  

An assessment of a patient’s heart health with a general practitioner (GP) will help to identify the risk of heart attack or stroke in those patients who haven’t previously been diagnosed with heart disease.  

The Check takes less than 30 minutes with a GP and is the nation’s best tool for preventing heart disease. 

GPs can then work with their patients to make changes to their lifestyle or prescribe medicines to lower any identified risk of heart disease. 

The items will also be amended to remove restrictions preventing First Nations people from claiming a heart health assessment within 12 months of an annual health check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, supporting the earlier diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease in First Nations people. 

Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:  

“Heart disease is Australia’s biggest killer – one Australian has a heart attack or stroke every 4 minutes.   

“About 2.5 million Australians have a high chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years, and many don’t know it.  

“Talking to your GP about your heart health save lives, helping to prevent or catch heart disease early so that patients and doctors can take action to reduce the risk before it’s too late. 

“The former Government would have had these crucial heart health assessments expire on 30 June 2023 but with about 250,000 people expected receive a heart health assessment over the next 2 years, our government’s action on this has the potential to save thousands of lives.”  

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