Heart deaths more likely in re­gional com­mu­ni­ties

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

Peo­ple liv­ing in re­gional, ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas are much more likely to die from heart con­di­tions caused by high blood pres­sure than those in metropoli­tan ar­eas, a study by ma­jor re­search group has found.

The Mary McKil­lop In­sti­tute for Health Re­search an­a­lysed dis­par­i­ties in heart dis­ease among Fed­eral elec­toral di­vi­sions.

In McMil­lan, that stretches from Pak­en­ham to Moe and South Gipp­s­land, deaths from heart con­di­tions were slightly above the na­tional av­er­age but, fur­ther east, the Gipp­s­land elec­torate was rated the 10th worst in Aus­tralia with a rate 15 per cent above the na­tional fig­ure.

Al­most 6500 McMil­lan res­i­dents are hos­pi­talised with coro­nary heart dis­ease each year.

The find­ings are not a sur­prise to Gipp­s­land physi­cian Dr Brett Forge.

He says there are a num­ber of fac­tors at play, dis­tance one of them.

“In gen­eral, the fur­ther we get from Mel­bourne the harder it is to at­tract doc­tors and with the com­bi­na­tion of lim­ited fi­nan­cial re­sources, job in­se­cu­rity and over-stretched doc­tors there is a poor up­take of med­i­cal ser­vices at the pre­ven­tive stage”.

Only about half of the heart at­tack pa­tients ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal have pre-ex­ist­ing and known coro­nary dis­ease but the ma­jor­ity are not on ap­pro­pri­ate med­i­ca­tion, Dr Forge said.

He points to the “car­di­ol­ogy es­tab­lish­ment” and its in­ter­ven­tion­ist ap­proach, such as putting stents in blocked coro­nary ar­ter­ies as a rea­son.

“The car­di­o­log­i­cal craft group” has con­vinced politi­cians to in­vest vast amounts in in­creas­ing ac­cess to stent­ing, Dr Forge claims, cit­ing a de­ci­sion to set up a car­diac catheter unit at Trar­al­gon that he be­lieves will cost mil­lions of dol­lars in set-up and on­go­ing costs but won’t save any lives.

“It will be un­der-utilised, not able to pro­vide 24-hour cov­er­age and of lit­tle ben­e­fit to

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