Heart Trucks driving the mobilisation of medicine


Posted on 27th August 2020

Trucks, and in particular the custom-designed mobile clinics, affectionately known as ‘Heart Trucks’ play a vital role in Heart of Australia’s mission to deliver specialist medical services to people living in rural and regional Australia.

Dr Gomes realised when Heart of Australia was just a dream that trucks would hold the solution.

“We needed to deliver excellent specialists to the bush, but we also needed to transport the state of the art medical equipment that the specialists needed to diagnose and treat patients. We wanted them to have their entire toolbox, not a mini or travel version, and we needed all that equipment to be protected and well-calibrated as they travelled through regional Queensland.”

“We wanted patients to be treated in a modern, state of the art medical clinic, despite being thousands of kilometres away from the city. The only vehicle that was going to be able to deliver on these demanding requirements was a custom-designed, oversized truck.”

The trucking industry has always been a strong supporter of Heart of Australia’s mission to deliver specialist medical care to rural and regional communities. This was demonstrated once again this week when PACCAR Australia committed to donating two DAF prime movers to be the driving engines for our fourth and fifth Heart Trucks. HEART 4 will service the expanding Northern Route, and HEART 5 will be the new dedicated medical imaging truck. Both trucks will launch operations in 2021.

PACCAR Australia has been a dedicated partner of Heart of Australia since the beginning. In 2014, when Heart of Australia was just a dream, Dr Gomes reached out to the trucking industry for support. PACCAR Australia was one of the first partners to come on board. They donated the initial Kenworth K200 cab-over prime mover to be the driving engine for HEART 1, the 18-wheel custom-designed semi-trailer mobile clinic that turned Heart of Australia from a dream into a reality. In 2018, PACCAR Australia stepped up once again, providing another Kenworth K200 prime mover, this time for the new 34-wheel B-Double mobile clinic, HEART 2.

PACCAR Australia’s Managing Director, Andrew Hadjikakou said there was a strong desire across the company to play a significant role in making Heart of Australia a reality, and helping it to expand and serve more communities in rural and regional Australia.

“PACCAR Australia is very proud of its Australian roots and in serving Australian communities. We have a nearly-50-year history of manufacturing in Australia.”

“Our trucks are suitable for Australia’s harsh conditions and built to transport things over great distances. When we heard Dr Gomes talking about trucks being the potential solution vehicle to take medical services to rural and regional Australia – we knew we wanted to be a part of it.”

“Many of our customers reside in rural Queensland and we hear firsthand about their challenges accessing health care. People might not automatically link the trucking industry and health care but when you look at what Dr Gomes is doing, it’s a natural fit. There is much the trucking industry can do to support.”

Heart of Australia has enjoyed the support of several companies and organisations in the transport industry.

When Heart of Australia built HEART 3, the baby of the Heart Truck fleet in 2019 they did so with the support of another transport industry company, Black Truck Sales – Isuzu, who donated an Isuzu F-Series FSD260.

IOR, the supplier of fuels to regional, rural and remote Australia provide all the fuel required to drive our Heart Trucks from town to town, quite literally fuelling our services. Bridgestone donates all the tyres needed for the Heart Trucks and support vehicles. Brown & Hurley provides all the maintenance services for the Heart Trucks, and Frasers Livestock Transport makes a financial contribution each quarter to help towards the cost of drivers wages.

Heart of Australia’s drivers are qualified truck drivers, licensed to drive the heavy, oversized, trucks that they operate – a significant skillset essential to Heart of Australia’s daily operations.

In 2018 Heart of Australia was awarded a lifetime membership to the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA). It is the first organisation to have been granted life membership since the organisation first began in 1907.

Dr Gomes said the commitment that the trucking industry has shown for reducing health inequity for people living in the Australian bush continues to impress and inspire.

“It’s been clear since the very beginning that the trucking industry is with us on this journey to deliver specialist medical services to the bush. Every kilometre we travel – they’re supporting us to be there.”

“Every time we step up to do more, expand the service, help more people, the trucking industry steps up with us – just as PACCAR Australia did this week by donating the prime movers for both HEART 4 and HEART 5.”

“Good news like this lifts the whole team. Industry sector support fuels our commitment to do more, help more, and dream big. Knowing companies are with us makes each kilometre that little bit easier to travel.”

Read patient Tony Beattie’s story about how Heart of Australia saved his life.