• Hannah Phillips

Urgent Action Required on Heart Disease

Australians living in regional and remote areas are 1.6 times more likely to be hospitalised for coronary heart disease, and 1.3 times more likely to die than people in major cities, according to new research from the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

The report, titled 'Cardiovascular health in remote and rural communities', also found Indigenous Australians are 1.7 times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to die from coronary heart disease. Aeromedical evacuations conducted by the RFDS were analysed for the report which found an average of 112 patients were flown to major hospitals from country areas for heart treatment each week.

Heart issues and cardio vascular disease also made up a big number of aeromedical evacuation, accounting for 21.3% of evacuations conducted by the RFDS.

CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Dr Martin Laverty joined Anita on the Country Viewpoint to discuss the research, and what can be done to improve heart health in our regional areas.

To view the research, visit: flyingdoctor.org.au/research.

RFDS has also received a significant funding boost, with the Federal Government committing $327 million over four years to help support continued fly and drive in medical, nursing, and dental services in remote areas, along with a new national mental health program.

Dr Laverty said: “RFDS cared for 335,000 Australians last year in the air, on the ground, or via telehealth.

"Our aeromedical and dental services now have certainty.

"We can now also deliver a new mental health service to underserved country areas in all States and the Northern Territory,” he said. National Farmers Federation (NFF) CEO Tony Mahar also commented on the funding, saying: “Last year the NFF and RFDS surveyed farmers on what they needed most from health care.

"The answer was better access when needed, and mental health services in the bush.

"This new funding for the RFDS to do both is great.”

Image Source: RFDS

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