Government announces new '10-year Mission for Cardiovascular Health'

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced $220 million for a new program he describes as a '10-year Mission for Cardiovascular Health'. 

Mr Hunt said the funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) will go towards supporting Australian researchers, the development of a global biotechnology industry and changes in the provision of healthcare.

Cardiovascular disease is the underlying cause of 43,500 deaths in Australia, he said.

"One Australian dies of cardiovascular disease every 12 minutes, with one Australian experiencing a heart attack or stroke every five minutes.

"In 2017 alone, more than 100,000 Australians experienced a heart attack or stroke and cardiovascular disease was the underlying cause of 43,500 deaths in Australia."

Mr Hunt said the new 'Mission for Cardiovascular Health' aims to improve health outcomes through prevention strategies, earlier detection and improved outcomes for patients suffering a heart attack or stroke.

"It will aim to reduce hospitalisations, develop clinical trials and new drug therapies, use the unique DNA of a patient to develop new therapies and also look into why people who don’t lead a unhealthy lifestyle or have a genetic cause suffer heart attacks," he said.

The new program will be overseen by an appointed expert advisory panel chaired by Professor Gemma Figtree. It will include open and contestable grant opportunities.

"This 10-year Mission for Cardiovascular Health, the funding to develop a rheumatic heart disease vaccine and the range of Medicare items that cover services and tests where people may have heart disease or are at risk of heart disease will ensure we are tackling heart disease and heart conditions from every front," added Mr Hunt.