Additional Funding Will Save Victorian Lives

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24th October 2010, 04:28pm - Views: 594
Additional Funding Will Save Victorian Lives

The Heart Foundation today strongly welcomed the Victorian Government's announcement of more than $8million to help Victorians get access to emergency treatment.

In the announcement made by Health Minister Daniel Andrews this morning, the Heart and Stroke Foundations will receive $1.2million to assist campaigns to help Australians recognize the warning signs of heart attack and stroke and get access to treatment.

The Heart Foundation s Warning Signs of Heart Attack campaign was piloted in metropolitan Melbourne and Geelong in 2009, and has been rolled out across Victoria and other parts of Australia this year.

The campaign focuses on saving lives by helping Victorians to recognise the warning signs of heart attack and understand the importance of calling Triple Zero (000) fast.

The campaign includes television commercials as well as radio and print advertising. The advertisements are deliberately thought-provoking with the intention of prompting increased awareness and quick action. Heart Foundation research confirms that those who have seen the campaign are 23% more likely to call an ambulance compared to those who have not.

President of the Heart Foundation in Victoria, cardiologist Dr Jennifer Johns, said that each year in Australia there are more than 48,000 major coronary events, 40 percent of which are fatal.

"The campaign aims to help people to understand the warning signs and to act quickly by calling Triple Zero (000). Delays can cost lives, and for heart attack survivors there is only a small window of opportunity to act before damage to the heart muscle occurs, resulting in permanent disability," she said.

The campaign in Victoria has already led to a 25% increase in calls to Triple Zero (000) for heart related conditions and a trend towards patients arriving to hospital earlier by ambulance.

"Of patients who die from heart attack, half will die before they get to hospital," said Dr Johns.

"We know that our campaign has already saved lives by getting people to call an ambulance fast. As a charity, the Heart Foundation only has enough funds to run this campaign for a limited time. This Victorian Government support will enable us to roll out the campaign further and longer in Victoria, and will save even more lives.

"We congratulate the Victorian Government on their leadership in this critical area," she said.

Medical Vice-President of the Heart Foundation Victoria, cardiologist Professor Ian Meredith, said many Victorians will delay calling for an ambulance because they are afraid of being embarrassed, if it turns out they are not having a heart attack.

"We want to send a clear message that nobody ever died of embarrassment, but many people have died from heart attacks because they didn't get help quickly enough," he said.

"We also know that the number of heart attacks increase dramatically between the ages of 45-55, yet many people in this age group still do not realise they are at risk.

"No two heart attacks are the same and we urge all Victorians to remember that if you think you could be having a heart attack call Triple Zero (000) immediately. The ambulance paramedics are there to help you," he said.

The Heart Foundation has worked closely with Ambulance Victoria and other health services, including hospitals and health industry associations, on the Warnings Signs of Heart Attack campaign and these partners have all been overwhelmingly supportive.

The Heart Foundation also welcomed the rest of the package, including ECG equipment into all MICA Ambulances and $2million for automatic defibrillators.

"This funding will make a huge difference in saving lives and reducing disability amongst Victorians who suffer heart attack and stroke," said Dr Johns.

More information on the Warnings Signs campaign is available at www.heartattackfacts.org.au

For more information please contact: Kirsten Andrews, National PR Manager

Mobile 0413777 404

Warning Signs of Heart Attack:

Heart attack symptoms may include pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in one or more parts of the upper body (chest, neck, jaw, arm(s), shoulder(s) or back) in combination with other symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or a cold sweat. People who have had a heart attack have described a feeling of being generally unwell or not quite right . Each can be a clear warning that the person is about to have a heart attack and needs to act fast.

SOURCE: Heart Foundation

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