Call for SA government to invest in heart health research

Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation is calling on the state government to take action and invest in the heart health of South Australians this budget.

In its pre-budget submission, the Heart Foundation has urged the government to invest in critical heart disease research funding.

Heart Foundation, CEO SA Imelda Lynch, said increasing funding for research would go a long way to preventing, diagnosing and treating heart disease.

“The Heart Foundation is Australia’s largest non-government funder of cardiovascular research, having invested more than $670 million into Australian research over 60 years. In South Australia alone, the Heart Foundation has invested almost $14 million over the past seven years.

With a greater commitment to research we will be able to better understand coronary heart disease, which kills on average, four people in South Australia each day, Ms Lynch said.

The recent SA Productivity Commission Inquiry into Health and Medical Research in South Australia1 notes that the state’s ability to attract investment into health and medical research has been diminishing.

“One of the key recommendations from the inquiry is to encourage and support health professionals to have research careers, to increase the size of the research workforce and to improve the quantity and quality of the research efforts in SA.

“The Heart Foundation intends to boost research funding in South Australia by providing a $3.5 million fund for cardiovascular research and we call on the SA Government to match this to bring the total up to $7 million,” Ms Lynch said.

“The impact of this fund will not only improve our knowledge, leading to better care and treatments, but potentially has economic returns of up to $10 for every dollar spent.

“We could support at least 17 research careers with this funding, ensuring we keep our talent in South Australia.”

Heart Foundation research fellow Professor Robyn Clark is just one of the South Australian researchers who have benefited from the Heart Foundations grants program.

Professor Clark’s research focuses on improving access to evidence-based care for disadvantaged people.

“The support and funding I have received from the Heart Foundation has enabled me to build my research team,” Professor Clark said.

“Without such funding I might have needed to move back interstate where the funding opportunities are greater.”

The Heart Foundation is also asking the SA Government to consider more funding for tobacco-control mass marketing, investment in school food policy and increasing cardiac rehabilitation services to include phone and/or telehealth options.

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