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New Medicare health checks for Indigenous Australians.

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Media Release The Hon Tony Abbott MHR Minister for Health and Ageing

5 May 2004 ABB052/04

New Medicare health checks for Indigenous Australians

The Australian Government has introduced a new Medicare funded health check for Indigenous Australians to help prevent and treat chronic illness.

The health assessment is available for Indigenous Australians aged between 15 and 54, every two years. Indigenous Australians life expectancy is about 20 years less than the community average.

The health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is now available and can be provided by both Aboriginal community health services and GPs. Regular health checks help reduce or prevent serious illness. The aim of this new health assessment is to ensure early intervention and diagnosis for treatable conditions to improve the overall health of Indigenous Australians.

The government has also released a new report, ‘Heart, stroke and vascular diseases: Australian facts 2004’compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in collaboration with the National Heart Foundation of Australia. It shows that while overall death from coronary heart disease has fallen since 1991, Indigenous Australians are up to 2.6 times more likely to die from the disease than the rest of the population.

This report highlights one of the main problems affecting the lives of Indigenous Australians. The new two-yearly health assessment should mean that disease is detected early and treated effectively.

Media contact: Kate Jordan, 0417 425 227

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Published on Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing web site 5 May 2004 Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing URL: