Dr Gomes recently headed north to visit Sarina, Proserpine, Ayr, and Palm Island, each earmarked for inclusion in the forthcoming northern expansion of Heart of Australia’s mobile clinical services.
The northern expansion, made possible thanks to the funding commitment from the Federal Government, will see Heart of Australia progressively increase the number of communities we service from 16 to 25, with the new towns including Richmond, Weipa, Cooktown, Sarina, Palm Island, Biloela, Childers, Proserpine and Ayr.
Dr Gomes’ recent trip to speak with the communities was an essential step in making the expansion a reality. Dr Gomes spent his time meeting with members of the local communities, including local GPs, to discuss Heart of Australia’s expansion plans.
“Local GPs are the best-informed people when it comes to understanding the local medical needs in the communities where they live and work. Their knowledge and insights will be invaluable in helping Heart of Australia to develop plans for the new northern expansion, to ensure our plans reflect community-specific needs,” Dr Gomes said.
The trip also allowed the Heart of Australia team to identify potential sites to host the heart truck during future visits in each of the towns, where the mobile clinics will be highly visible and easy for local community members to access.
The next major step towards advancing the northern expansion will be the design and manufacture of a new mobile clinic.
“In order to service the additional northern towns without compromising the services being offered to existing communities, we need to design and build a new dedicated vehicle for the expanded northern route,” said Dr Gomes.
This new truck, HEART 4, like the three preceding heart trucks, will be designed by Dr Gomes, who is a trained engineer as well as a cardiologist. Dr Gomes will incorporate any new knowledge and local insights gained during this trip to the lessons learned from four years of delivering specialist services to rural and regional towns via mobile clinics in designing HEART 4.
Excitement is growing, with the design and build of HEART 4 set to commence next month, once the funding for the expansion becomes available. The build of the custom mobile medical clinic should take approximately 12 months to complete, allowing services to the expanded northern route to commence in mid-2020.