This year is off to a flying start, with a series of exciting developments for Heart of Australia coming in quick succession. We look forward to sharing information and insights about these developments, and future developments throughout the year as they happen.
In late January, Heart of Australia Founder and cardiologist, Dr Rolf Gomes, joined Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt MP in Mackay to announce a $12 million, three-year Federal Government funding commitment to Heart of Australia.
Dr Rolf Gomes said the $12 million funding committed today from the Federal Government will allow Heart of Australia to build a fourth truck, HEART 4, and to progressively increase the number of communities we service from 16 to 25, with new towns including Richmond, Weipa, Cooktown, Sarina, Palm Island, Biloela, Childers, Proserpine and Ayr.
“The new funding will provide a significant boost to Heart of Australia’s operations, allowing it to expand its reach and scope of services in rural and regional Queensland.
“Over the past 4 years, we have demonstrated that it is possible to deliver high-quality specialist medical care to rural and regional Australians via a mobile clinic.
“The launch of our second mobile clinic in August last year, and the recent launch of our new mini-clinic HEART 3 has helped us expand our capacity to see more patients, accommodate more specialities and reduce waiting lists, but there are still many more communities still in need of our services.
“In order to service the additional towns, significantly expanding our reach without compromising the services being offered to existing communities, we need to design and build a new dedicated vehicle, and the new funding from the Federal Government will make this possible,” Dr Gomes said.
Once commenced, the design and build of HEART 4 should take approximately 12 months, allowing services to the expended northern route to commence in 2020.
“Beyond the construction of the vehicle, the funding will allow for the actual delivery of specialist services. The mobile clinics are essential to bringing the specialists and their state-of-the-art equipment to the communities who need it, but it is in the actual seeing of patients and service delivery where lives are saved.
“The funding will also help to fund the expansion our services to include mental health, an area of great need in rural and regional communities, and one that will complement our existing services which include cardiology, gynaecology, neurology and endocrinology.
Dr Gomes said the expansion of reach and services will represent a great leap forward for rural and regional communities in Queensland.
“Our goal has always been to address the imbalance and inequity faced by our fellow Australians who live outside major regional centres. Over the last four years, we have made significant inroads in tackling that imbalance in the communities we have visited. We are eager to take on the challenge of expanding our work to new communities and new specialties.
“Heart of Australia believes that every Australian deserves access to quality healthcare, regardless of where they live. The $12million commitment from the Federal Government is going to help us deliver it.”
In keeping with Heart of Australia tradition, Dr Gomes’ delivers his 2018 Christmas message, noting the achievements of 2018, being thankful for everyone who has helped make it possible, and looking forward to 2019.