Federal policy-maker “up close and personal”
We’ve had the pleasure of an on-the-road visit by the Assistant Minister for Rural Health Dr. David Gillespie MP. In Dalby last Thursday, Dr. Gillespie met with Heart of Australia founder Dr. Rolf Gomes, our on-the-road staff and patients – and looked over our semi-trailer travelling clinic.
“Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every twelve minutes. It’s also one of the major contributors to the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” Dr. Gillespie said in a Media Release.
“Australians living in the bush often experience the combined impact of fewer health resources and limited access to health services compared to Australians living in metropolitan areas.
“The work being done by Heart of Australia in the fondly-named Heart Bus is a great step forward in providing more services and access to health care for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living in rural, remote and regional areas”.
Dr Gomes said that Minister Gillespie’s experience in Dalby was able to highlight that the breadth of services delivered by the Heart of Australia program is beyond what could be achieved by a solo visiting specialist.
Dr. Gomes explained : “The reality for many people in the bush is that the prospect that to travel to access similar services is simply not an option due to a multitude of reasons, including social and economic disadvantage, frailty and work and business commitments”.
“Certainly, I hope that by seeing Heart of Australia at work, the Minister will be able to influence Federal Government recognition of our service and, hopefully, lead to support from Canberra to help us build on our range of medical services and our reach into the bush.
“We’ve shown in these first two years of our operations that the need for what Heart of Australia brings to the bush is, in real terms, undeniable,” Dr. Gomes said.