Key messages

  • Heart health: improved services and better outcomes for Victorians is a five-year plan to improve heart disease prevention and care.
  • Heart health has four strategic directions: promotion and early detection; better cardiac care; improved services and stronger system performance.

Heart health: improved services and better outcomes for Victorians (Heart health) is a five-year plan to improve heart disease prevention efforts and enhance cardiac services to achieve better outcomes for Victorians with, or at risk of, heart disease.

Advances in medicine and treatment techniques over recent decades have lead to significant improvements in survival from heart diseases. While more people are surviving acute cardiac events, the prevalence of heart disease in the Victorian community is still growing, and coronary heart disease remains the single leading underlying cause of death. In order to achieve the best possible outcomes for all Victorians, regardless of where they live, Heart health guides the planning of cardiac services across the full continuum from prevention to end-of-life care.

Heart health: improved services and better outcomes for Victorians identifies the following four strategic directions.

Promote healthy living and improve detection of the early stages of heart disease
Heart Health has an emphasis on the importance of healthy living, identifying risk factors and preventing disease and so complements the Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2015-2019. This direction focuses on greater health literacy and self-management for people with early signs of disease, as well as improved assessment and early management of risk factors in primary care to reduce disease progression.

Better, faster access to time critical cardiac care
This direction focuses on maximising the health system's response to time-critical events. It recognises that a person surviving an acute event can depend on a rapid and effective response from both members of the community and the health system.

Improve services for people with heart disease
Accessing best-practice care when it is needed, in the most appropriate setting, is the focus of this direction. Cardiac services should be based on evidence of best practice and provided as close as possible to where people live, with highly specialist services accessible to all. Care needs to be consistent, coordinated and tailored to the individual needs of people with heart disease.

Strengthen system performance
This direction aims to strengthen system performance to ensure there is seamless transition between all stages of care and between all health service providers. Clinical leadership, performance monitoring and strengthening the cardiac workforce will drive continuous improvement across cardiac services and the health system, in turn delivering the best possible health outcomes.