News Archive: Nov 2016


Media Release: Highway to health for the bush is going further

Posted on 16th November 2016

Bush Queensland’s pioneering “to-your-door” specialist medical program Heart of Australia, is growing again – way ahead of expectations.

Two newly-recruited specialist doctors, cardiologist Dr Roly Hilling-Smith and endocrinologist Dr Merryn Thomae, are to share a new Heart of Australia travelling clinic roster to the Southern Downs centre of Stanthorpe – starting this week (Friday, November 18).

Cardiologist and Heart of Australia founder Dr Rolf Gomes said the program has “successfully engaged with local council and General Practitioners who have identified that because of medical need in the Stanthorpe district, our visiting specialist clinics will provide a direct benefit to this community”.

“We are delighted to bring our services to Stanthorpe so that the people there – living almost on the Qld/NSW border – will have access for the first time to regularly-scheduled visits by specialists,” he said.

“We’re hoping Stanthorpe will be a lucky 13 for the local district people because Stanthorpe becomes the 13th town on our travelling clinics circuits, joining Dalby, Goondiwindi, St George, Charleville, Roma, Longreach, Winton, Emerald, Barcaldine, Hughenden, Charters Towers and Moranbah”.

“That marks truly outstanding growth and community acceptance for Heart of Australia since we started on the road just two years ago with only five bush towns on the roster,” Dr Gomes said.

He said that in the past two years, Heart of Australia has conducted 4,283 consultations with
2,388 patients; more than 250 patients have required urgent treatment; 30 patients were referred for open heart surgery; and “we estimate that 82 lives have been saved because we have been able to identify previously-undiagnosed cardiac conditions”.

In addition, the Heart of Australia mobile clinic service has resulted in 244 avoidable hospital admissions or a reduced length of hospital stay.



Volunteer city pharmacists go bush

Posted on 3rd November 2016

Volunteer city pharmacists inspired to go bush and join cardiac clinic on wheels to share expert medicines advice for rural Aussies

Michelle Cassumbhoy is passionate about equality in healthcare and is committed to sharing her pharmacy expertise and advice beyond her home city of Melbourne. She has decided to head to regional Queensland and join the Heart of Australia cardiac clinic on wheels after reading about the initiative in pharmacy magazine Australian Pharmacist.

As a visiting pharmacist, Michelle will join fellow Melbourne pharmacist Alana Donaldson and spend their holiday break travelling with the mobile clinic providing comprehensive reviews of patients’ medicines and in-depth discussions about their medicine needs.

Both pharmacists believe there is a need for increased health services, advice and support in rural and regional Australia, particularly when it comes to taking medications correctly to ensure people remain healthy and well and avoid the risk of serious complications.

Michelle says “people often don’t realise the importance of taking medication as directed, particularly after a heart event or procedure. The consequences can be serious and in some cases even fatal.”

“Bayer has a commitment to the health and wellbeing of all Australians and we understand the challenges faced by people who live in remote and rural Australia,” commented Nelson Ambrogio, General Manager, Bayer Pharmaceuticals ANZ.

“Because of this we have supported Heart of Australia from when it was just a concept right through to the present day, as we see the services it provides as vital in trying to create equitable access to the health services these remote communities need.

“We are delighted to provide additional support to enable these community-spirited pharmacists to deliver this additional service alongside the Heart of Australia clinic.”