WIMMERA residents will have access to more cardiac care services after the State Government released a new plan to prevent heart disease.
The plan follows data released by the Heart Foundation last year that showed Wimmera residents were up to six times more likely to suffer heart attacks than their city counterparts.
The 10 municipalities with the highest rates of heart attack in Victoria are in regional areas.
Municipalities that rank in the top 10 include Yarriambiack, Buloke, Horsham Rural City and Ararat Rural City.
Minister for Health David Davis on Friday launched the plan, which detailed the government’s actions to fight heart disease.
“Heart disease remains a major killer here in Victoria, claiming almost 7300 lives every year,” he said.
“We have developed a comprehensive five-year plan to prevent heart disease and further develop and improve cardiac services across our health system.
“Our plan strengthens cardiac services and outlines ways to improve our system to deliver more effective and efficient care into the future.
“It aims to promote healthy living and early detection of heart disease, increase awareness of warning signs, support quicker access to time-critical cardiac care, improve services for people with heart disease and strengthen system co-ordination and workforce training.”
As part of the plan, more than $3 million has been allocated to cardiac-related projects.
The money includes $750,000 for Ambulance Victoria to equip ambulances in rural Victoria with blood clot-dissolving drugs.
There will also be $500,000 for cardiac rehabilitation projects and $300,000 to improve referral to cardiac surgery, particularly for people in rural areas.
Yarriambiack Mayor Andrew McLean said it was great the
government was putting more money into cardiac health.
“But people do have to take responsibility themselves and make sure they get regular health checks and eat well,” he said.
“I don’t know how the government can convince people to eat right and exercise.”
Cr McLean said council was finalising its health and well-being policy.
“We are in the planning stages and it is about to be released,” he said.
“It is noted in there that the levels of obesity and heart disease are higher than they should be.”
Mr Davis said other initiatives included additional ambulance services in the Wimmera.
“We have established 10 new Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance Single Responder Units in Warrnambool, Horsham, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Wodonga, Sale, Bairnsdale, Wonthaggi and Swan Hill,” he said.