Hypertension in Australia
High blood pressure (hypertension) is the leading risk factor for death in Australia and the world, leading to 10.8 million deaths globally each year. Currently, in Australia high blood pressure is under diagnosed and poorly managed. One in 3 adults in Australia has hypertension, but only half of these people know they have it. Of those, only 32% have it controlled to target levels with medication or lifestyle.
Raised blood pressure in Australia is responsible for 43% of coronary heart disease, 41% of stroke, 38% of chronic kidney disease and 32% of atrial fibrillation. Unfortunately, Australia’s blood pressure control rates lag behind countries like Germany, South Korea, Canada and the US (Schutte 2022).
The National Hypertension Taskforce
To address this national health problem, the ACvA and Hypertension Australia have joined forces and established the National Hypertension Taskforce with a vision to more than double Australia’s blood pressure control rates from 32% to 70% by 2030.
The National Hypertension Taskforce is cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary. It is the result of multiple stakeholders coming together to focus on a single goal. The Taskforce has members representing consumers with lived experience, primary care doctors, specialist clinicians, allied health, pharmacists, nurses, researchers, peak bodies and professional societies.
The Taskforce is informed by domestic and international consultation with experts which took place as part of the ACvA’s Hypertension Clinical Theme Initiative which brings the cardiovascular and stroke sector’s together to strategically address the biggest unmet needs in cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The National Hypertension Taskforce was officially launched by the Honourable Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care on the 8th December 2022.
You can read the complete transcript HERE.
Taskforce Priorities and Working Groups
The Taskforce has identified five key priority areas using the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Process that will be critical on the path to achieving better blood pressure (BP) control for all Australians. To address these priority areas, working groups were established through an open Expressions of Interest.
The five new working groups, Co-Leads and members are below.
1. Developing up-to-date, simple BP management tools for healthcare providers.
This group focuses on crafting user-friendly, up-to-date BP management tools for healthcare providers.
Michael Stowasser (Co-Lead)
Charlotte Hespe (Co-Lead)
2. Increasing patient activation and engagement.
Engaging patients in their health is vital, working towards activating patients to improve their well-being.
Liz Halcomb (Co-Lead)
Niamh Chapman (Co-Lead)
3. Raising and maintaining awareness at all levels.
Increasing awareness about BP’s significance is essential. This group is dedicated to raising and maintaining awareness at all levels.
Lisa Murphy (Co-Lead)
Quynh Nhu Dinh (Co-Lead)
4. Establishing a systems and data-based approach to BP management.
This group focuses on establishing processes to ensure integration of BP data across the health sector to support monitoring and informing clinical practice for optimal care.
James Sharman (Co-Lead)
Nelson Wang (Co-Lead)
5. Improving detection (screening) of people with elevated BP to identify those at risk.
This group will be dedicated to identifying individuals at risk using a combination of community-based screening initiatives and opportunistic screening strategies.
Jun Yang (Co-Lead)
Martin Schultz (Co-Lead)