Heart Foundation announces Indigenous heart health data

Indigenous people on the Mid-North Coast are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalised for a heart-related condition than non-Indigenous people.

That’s according to data released by the Heart Foundation.

The Mid-North Coast figure is better than the national average but worse than the state average of 2.1.

The Mid-North Coast region in terms of the data covers hospital admissions for heart-related conditions across the local government areas of Port Macquarie-Hastings, Bellingen, Kempsey, MidCoast, Nambucca and Armidale Regional.

At a national level, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are admitted to hospital for a heart condition 2.6 times more often than non-Indigenous Australians, the figures show.

The data is available on the Australian Heart Maps, a national map of hospital admissions for heart events.

Heart Foundation’s health equity manager Jane Potter said we could not be complacent about the rates of heart disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as heart disease was responsible for around one quarter of the gap in life expectancy compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

The data shows Indigenous men in NSW are 1.8 times more likely to go to hospital for a heart condition than non-Indigenous men.

This is better than the national average of 2.3.

The gap is wider for Indigenous women in NSW. They are 2.5 times more likely to be admitted to hospital for a heart-related condition than non-Indigenous women.

The Heart Foundation’s Aboriginal engagement manager, Corey Turner, said partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and health professionals were critical to addressing the inequities in heart health.

“We want to work with communities, local Aboriginal medical services and health professionals, taking time to listen and understand the local issues that impact on heart health of communities,” he said.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chief executive officer Patricia Turner said they knew locally-led solutions harnessed and built on local strengths and wisdom.

“It is these locally-led solutions that will be the only way to successfully tackle these complex problems contributing to Aboriginal heart health outcomes,” she said.