CHECK YOURSELF: A new Medicare item will be created in April for heart health checks.
CHECK YOURSELF: A new Medicare item will be created in April for heart health checks. Nev Madsen

Help for heart health

A NEW Medicare item for heart health checks will be created from April 1 in light of the continued toll cardiovascular disease takes on Australians, which sees one die every 12 minutes on average.

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the Coalition Government is committed to combating "Australia's biggest killer.”

In addition to one Australian dying every 12 minutes, one will also suffer a heart attack or stroke every five minutes.

Experts from the Medical Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce will also conduct a review with the potential for further development of this new Medicare item, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

There are already a range of Medicare items covering services and tests where people may already have cardiovascular disease or be at risk.

These include specialist consultations with a cardiologist, electrocardiogram tests, coronary angiography, computed tomography coronary arteries and chest x-rays.

Meanwhile, the January performance data from the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service has been released, showing an 11 per cent increase in overall patient presentations across emergency departments in the division as compared to January 2018.

Chief executive Adrian Pennington said he was pleased with the service's January performance, where 11,000 emergency patients and more than 400 elective surgery patients were treated within the month.

In particular, only one of 437 patients waited longer than the clinically- recommended time.

"Our elective surgery patients have the reassurance that when they need treatment they will receive it within the clinically-recommended time,” Mr Pennington said.


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