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Carmina Burana . . Page.. 396 ..

groups like the National Heart Foundation. The National Heart Foundation was formed in the late 1950s, making it one of the oldest health care groups in Australia. Its staff are involved in research and education, with a very high success rate in bringing down the number of people dying from cardiovascular-related illnesses.

Public awareness does need to be heightened. Recent surveys suggest that Australians do not see cardiovascular death as a high priority for public action. It does not rate nearly as high as HIV/AIDS or even cancer. Although there are decreasing trends in the number of Australians smoking, or those with high blood pressure, there is no clear improvement in either lipids, that is things like cholesterol and triglycerides, or, for that matter, exercise patterns. Even worse is the alarming increase in both men and women who are overweight. These patterns pose a new challenge for doctors and others, with the threat of a plateauing of improvements in cardiovascular health and possibly a resurgence in cardiovascular disease. The ACT branch of the National Heart Foundation needs assistance, and that includes financial support. The Heart Foundation is hoping to increase its funding through the Heart Week appeal. This will enable it to increase its research projects and, importantly, its education programs.

I am pleased to be able to detail the support given to the National Heart Foundation for the promotion of the heart health message. Over the past year there has been a commitment of over $60,000 to the Heart Foundation for projects running for the 1994-95 and 1995-96 financial years. These include acting as the supporting sponsor of events and programs assisted through the Health Promotion Fund. I am sure that Mr Stefaniak will be most interested in the fund's support through sporting programs, including netball, touch football, volleyball, Australian football, indoor cricket, orienteering, ice-skating, and woodchopping at the Canberra Show. In the arts, support is provided for the National Folk Festival; for Gaudeamus’s involvement in the very successful Carmina Burana; and, most recently, for Dance Week, which was something I had great pleasure in watching last week and which went very well, I think. Through all of these avenues the important message of the effects of smoking and the need for good nutrition is being promoted. Both the Health Promotion Fund and the health grants program have acknowledged the importance of focusing on cardiovascular disease and will use “ACT Health Goals and Targets for the year 2000” to focus their efforts for 1995-96.

In line with the goals of pursuing cardiovascular health and as part of the Government's health policy, we will be establishing a cardio-thoracic unit at Woden Valley Hospital. This unit will serve both the ACT community and the surrounding districts. It will be carefully planned and will be at least the equal of the long-established units in Sydney. I anticipate that the unit will become operational towards the end of 1996. The existing cardiology unit at Woden Valley Hospital is currently working towards advancing its echo-cardiographic techniques with the introduction of two ultrasound machines. One of these machines has the capacity to detect abnormalities in heart muscle movement. One of the cardiac programs at Woden Valley Hospital is recognised throughout Australia as one of the most comprehensive in cardiac rehabilitation. I am advised that other hospitals and health regions are using it as a standard. The program involves education, graduated exercises and collaboration with the Australian Cardiacs Association. More than 540 patients have taken part in this program - - -

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