Funding boost for blood pressure patients

AAPAAP
About one-in-three Australians aged 18 and over have high blood pressure.
Camera IconAbout one-in-three Australians aged 18 and over have high blood pressure. Credit: AAP

It is anticipated up to 400,000 Australians with high blood pressure will be able to claim rebates for ambulatory measurement devices able to diagnose their condition around the clock.

The federal government will invest $40.5 million to a create a new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item to provide for the advance.

About one-in-three Australians aged 18 and over have high blood pressure. Men are more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension: one-in-four compared to one-in-five women.

It is a risk factor for chronic conditions, including stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says patients can claim rebates for the wearable devices from November 1.

He says ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is the best available test to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension, is more effective than in-clinic blood pressure monitoring and will save and improve lives.

"This is a significant development in hypertension awareness and care in Australia and we anticipate this listing will benefit more than 400,000 Australians in the first 12 months," Mr Hunt said.

"Australia has a world-class health system and our government will continue to ensure it remains that way."

The new MBS item includes consultation, fitting of the device, analysis of the data, generation of a report and development of a treatment plan.

The government agreed to add Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring to the MBS following recommendations from the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee.

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