A new era is being heralded for life-saving specialist medical services in rural and remote Queensland with the launch of a custom-built mobile medical clinic servicing towns from the Mackay region to Cape York Peninsula.
Heart of Australia’s new truck, dubbed HEART 4, will see specialists from all over the country unite to give residents in Sarina, Proserpine, Ayr, and Cooktown access to cardiology, sonography, cardiac monitoring, sleep diagnostics and respiratory services. New towns and services will be added as demand dictates.
The Australian Government is investing $12 million to support and expand the Heart of Australia program, including the delivery of the service’s fourth mobile medical clinic to access the new route across northern Queensland.
Federal Minister for Regional Health, Mark Coulton said the Government’s support represents a significant boost to Heart of Australia, ensuring it continues to provide high-quality healthcare to some of the nation’s most isolated communities.
“Bringing specialist services to the rural and remote areas means improving access for Queenslanders in these communities, many of whom face significant distances to get the health care they need,” Minister Coulton said.
“I am excited to see HEART 4 hit the road, and I’m sure the Northern communities to which its headed look forward to it arriving in their town soon.”
Foundation partner Arrow Energy’s Vice President External Relations and Tenure Management, Leisa Elder said Heart of Australia is saving lives by addressing an imbalance experienced by people in the bush.
“Arrow Energy is proud to have supported Heart of Australia from its inception seven years ago and today’s expansion represents a great step forward with more patients granted access to high-quality healthcare in some of the most remote areas of Queensland,” Ms Elder said.
Since launching its first truck in 2014, Heart of Australia has travelled more than 500,000 kilometres, seen more than 11,000 patients, and saved more than 400 lives as it aims to close the gap between healthcare services available to people in the city and those living in the bush. Heart of Australia Founder and cardiologist, Dr Rolf Gomes mortgaged his home to build the first truck seven years ago.
“We are very excited the Federal Government partnership allows us to build this fourth truck and open a new route. It means we are now servicing patients from Stanthorpe in southern Queensland to Weipa in the far north. We know we’ve helped saved lives and with HEART 4 we will be able to save even more. It’s a step towards making sure country Australians have the same chance of a long and healthy life through better access to healthcare,“ Dr Gomes said.
The launch of HEART 4 is an important next step in Heart of Australia’s goal to break borders and provide mobile medical services across the country.