Celebrating Heart of Australia’s 1500th clinic.

Posted on 25th August 2020

This month Heart of Australia celebrated the milestone of delivering 1500 clinics to Queensland’s rural, regional and remote communities.

Since operations commenced in 2014, Heart of Australia has delivered over 1500 clinics, seen over 8000 patients and helped to save over 350 lives.

To recognise this exciting milestone, Dr Gomes met up with patient Anthony (Tony) Beattie and his wife Carolyn. Tony’s check up with Dr Gomes in Dalby three months ago resulted in life-saving open-heart surgery, from which he is now recovering.

Dr Gomes said Tony’s story is a reminder of the life-saving impact the service delivers.

“The individual stories like Tony’s are what makes Heart of Australia so special and highlights how we can mobilise medicine for those in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia,” said Dr Gomes.

“What started as a dream, supported by a small band of people who took a chance in 2014, has flourished into a model of mobile medical service delivery that is demonstrated to perform, and is ready to scale.”

“We measure our impact in terms of lives saved, and the quality of the lives improved. It gives our team so much pleasure to see the progress made by returning patients, knowing our intervention has helped that person’s quality of life.”

Read more about Tony’s story here (hyperlink to feature story).

Dr Gomes created Heart of Australia’s concept in response to his time as a junior doctor in rural Queensland, where specialist medical services were almost non-existent.

“I saw people who either had to travel hundreds of kilometres on their GP’s recommendation for a specialist diagnosis or trust to luck that nothing was seriously wrong with them,” Dr Gomes said.

“This option is one of the core reasons that country people have a higher rate of death than their city counterparts, and it drove me to think about what I could do to address this inequity.”

Tony’s wife Carolyn understands the impact Heart of Australia’s service has in the lives of rural and regional Queenslanders, and their loved ones.

“A reminder call from Heart of Australia prompted Anthony to get a 2-yearly check up on the Heart Truck. During the check-up Dr Gomes detected a significant cardiac issue that resulted in Tony undergoing an emergency triple bypass,” Carolyn said.

“If it wasn’t for this wonderful service, we could quite easily have lost him.”

In 2014 Dr Gomes outlined his plan for a mobile specialist service to Arrow Energy, which signed on as foundation partner to transform Heart of Australia into reality. Arrow Energy CEO Cecile Wake was one of the people in Dalby to celebrate the 1500th clinic milestone.

“I offer my heartiest congratulations to Dr Gomes and the Heart of Australia team,” said Arrow Energy CEO Cecile Wake.

“With permanent groups of staff in Dalby and Moranbah, Arrow understood the value of Dr Gomes’ idea right from the start. We know our country staff should have the same level of care as our Brisbane staff, and this goes for the wider community as well.

“Helping to create Heart of Australia stands as a great achievement in our company’s history. It gives me great satisfaction to see it going from strength to strength, for the benefit of country Queenslanders.”

The journey to this 1500th clinic milestone has seen many advances and expansions to the services offered.

“Our first clinics offered mobile cardiology and respiratory medicine services. We quickly confirmed that our model for mobilising specialist services worked, and expanded the range of specialist services available at our clinics. Additional speciality services now available include endocrinology, gastroenterology, gynaecology, neurology, psychology, geriatrics, and sleep medicine,” Dr Gomes said.

“We have developed and delivered a model of mobile medicine that works for rural, regional and remote communities. We’ve made a significant difference in the lives of the communities we have served with our first 1500 clinics. We’re excited to see what we can achieve with the next 1500.”