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Heart of Australia Media Releases
1 February 2023 - Boehringer Ingelheim and Heart of Australia partnership to boost sustainability of rural healthcare
- New three-year NextGen Medics partnership announced
- Partnership to boost sustainability of regional healthcare workforce
- Unique, on-the-ground training for next generation of rural medics
1 February 2023 – Boehringer Ingelheim is delighted to announce its new partnership with Heart of Australia, the state-of-the-art mobile medical clinics delivering specialist healthcare services to rural communities.
This year, The Heart of Australia NextGen Medics Program supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, will enable 20 medical and allied health students to spend a combined 240 days ‘on the road’, immersed in Heart of Australia’s rural health program.
The students will have the unique opportunity to experience the communities, medical practices, service delivery, and most importantly the possibilities that come with a career in rural healthcare – an experience they cannot gain through standard training.
Dirk Otto, General Manager, Boehringer Ingelheim Australia and New Zealand, said the NextGen Medics Program was perfectly aligned with the company’s commitments to expand access to rural healthcare and to improve the sustainability of the healthcare workforce – now and for the future.
Mr Otto recently witnessed a Heart of Australia mobile clinic in operation in the Central Queensland town of Biloela, around 600km from Brisbane, noting first-hand the disparity between healthcare services in metropolitan and rural/remote parts of Australia.
“The distinct lack of access to health services and specialist medical care in rural and remote parts of Australia is abundantly clear and extremely concerning,” said Mr Otto.
“Boehringer Ingelheim wants to be part of the solution, to help expand access to quality healthcare – especially for vulnerable communities,” he said.
“The Heart of Australia partnership is an example of Boehringer Ingelheim’s commitment to sustainable development for generations.”
Heart of Australia Founder and cardiologist, Dr Rolf Gomes, welcomed the new partnership, stating: “Like Heart of Australia, Boehringer Ingelheim values innovation and recognises that building and improving the sustainability of the rural healthcare workforce is fundamental to improving health outcomes for rural and remote communities”.
“Thank you to Boehringer Ingelheim for supporting the development of the next generation of healthcare practitioners and contributing to the delivery of life-saving and life-changing medical care to rural and remote communities for years to come,” said Dr Gomes.
“We look forward to reviewing applications from medical and allied health students keen to learn how ECG tests, sleep tests and radiology diagnostic procedures are performed on the road, for people who may not have the time, means, proximity or know-how to access these healthcare services,” Dr Gomes concluded.
About Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim is working on breakthrough therapies that transform lives, today and for generations to come. As a leading research-driven biopharmaceutical company, the company creates value through innovation in areas of high unmet medical need. Founded in 1885 and family-owned ever since, Boehringer Ingelheim takes a long-term perspective. More than 52,000 employees serve over 130 markets in the three business areas, Human Pharma, Animal Health, and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. Learn more at https://www.boehringer-ingelheim.com/
About Heart of Australia
The Heart of Australia program embodies the most innovative approach to front-line specialist medical service delivery in generations, specifically aiming to help Australians whose lives are threatened by this nation’s vast distances.
Heart of Australia delivers specialist healthcare and diagnostic testing clinics to rural and remote communities across Queensland.
Our fit-for-purpose Heart Trucks – custom-designed medical clinic-on-wheels – have saved our patients more than 32 million kilometres of travel, creating a more accessible pathway to specialists for country Australians who are most at risk for chronic disease.
7 September 2022 - Rabobank partners with Heart of Australia to deliver remote specialist health care
Rabobank’s Rabo Community Fund has partnered with Heart of Australia on the mobile medical program’s mission to deliver specialist healthcare services to rural and remote communities in Queensland.
The specialist agribusiness bank will be providing financial support to the Heart of Australia over the next three years as it delivers specialist clinics including cardiology, endocrinology and gynaecology to rural and remote communities throughout Queensland.
Rabobank client council manager Yvette Loyson said Heart of Australia’s customised trucks bring specialist medical facilities to communities where people may not have the time or opportunity to travel long distances for medical attention.
Ms Loyson said Heart of Australia’s mission aligns well with the Rabo Community Fund’s key aim of improving rural health.
The world’s leading specialist food and agribusiness bank, Rabobank is one of Australia’s largest agricultural lenders and a major provider of business and corporate banking services to the country’s food and agribusiness sector.
Last year, the bank launched the Rabo Community Fund in Australia and New Zealand to invest in the sustainability and vitality of rural communities.
“As a cooperative, Rabobank has a rich history of community engagement and always looks to make an impact across the rural communities in which our clients live and work,” Ms Loyson said.
“The Rabo Community Fund’s priorities are led by the bank’s farming clients, who are at the heart of their communities, supporting local initiatives with the aim of tangibly and meaningfully contributing to the vibrancy and resilience of rural Australia.”
Heart of Australia began in 2014 when founder and cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes saw the gap in specialist services for those living in rural and remote communities.
Since the first truck was launched in 2014, Heart of Australia has seen over 14,000 patients, now services 33 communities and delivers specialist and radiology services in five trucks.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rabobank to the Heart of Australia partner family to deliver these services in the communities who need them. Rabobank is the first partner we have from the finance sector and we look forward to working together to improve the health outcomes for those living in these communities,” said Dr Gomes.
For more information about Rabobank or to learn more about the Rabo Community Fund, visit – Rabobank AU | Rural Bank & Agribusiness Farm Finance.
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 38 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.4 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 90 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Head of Media Relations
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand
Phone: 02 8115 2744 or 0439 603 525
Media Relations Manager
Phone: 0418 216 103
21 June 2022 - New regional women’s health services launched in Central Queensland
Heart of Australia, in partnership with Anglo American, is launching new women’s health services in regional communities tomorrow (22 June), with the introduction of gynaecology specialist services in the Bowen Basin.
Heart of Australia Founder and cardiologist, Dr Rolf Gomes, said Heart of Australia’s custom-built mobile health clinic HEART 1, would visit Middlemount on a quarterly basis, and had been refurbished with specialist equipment to support the new service, including a colposcope for colposcopy procedures.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring this important service to this community. Women needing this care are often busy parents who put their own healthcare last on the priority list. We know that accessing specialist services, including gynaecology, can be challenging for women living in remote communities and that delaying these appointments can affect their health outcomes.” Dr Gomes stated.
The clinic is supported by gynaecologist, Dr Caron Forde, and provides improved accessibility to a full service of gynaecological care including new gynaecology consultations, infertility, contraception (including IUD), menstrual cycle problems, endometriosis consultations, cervical screening test assessments, menopause, pelvic floor incontinence and women’s health issues.
Anglo American’s Australian Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainable Impact, Victoria Somlyay, said the new service had been initiated to help address the gap in the availability of women’s health services in Central Queensland communities.
“As part of our work to support health services in the communities where we operate, we received feedback from women in our workforce and the community that they had major challenges in accessing specialist health services, with some women travelling three hours for an appointment.
“Through our existing partnership with Heart of Australia, we wanted to take action to help address the critical need for accessible women’s health services in Central Queensland, and are pleased to play a role in supporting a new gynaecology service.
“Supporting thriving communities is a key pillar of our global Sustainable Mining Plan, and this new service will ensure the women of Isaac and Central Highlands are able to access specialist health care in the communities where they live and work,” Ms Somlyay said.
Heart of Australia delivers quality, specialist medical services to Australians living in regional, rural and remote communities. Since Heart of Australia commenced operations in 2014, they have seen over 13,000 patients and potentially helped save over 500 lives.
The innovative delivery approach involves taking specialist medical services to the people who need them on a fleet of custom-designed mobile medical clinics and Heart of Australia’s fleet includes five mobile medical clinics.
Anglo American is a leading global mining company, with significant investments in Australia and particularly in Queensland. The company operates five steelmaking coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, and has additional joint venture interests in steelmaking coal and manganese, as well as copper exploration projects underway in North West Queensland and Western Australia.
The Heart of Australia specialist medical clinic and Dr Caron Forde visit Middlemount on 22nd –23rd June and return to the town on a quarterly basis.
As Heart of Australia provides specialist medical services, patients wishing to make an appointment will need a referral from their GP.
Once people have a referral from their GP, they can call Heart of Australia on (07) 3162 5310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
For further information, please contact:
Tel: +61 (0) 412 450 360
Tel: +61 (0) 419 864 466
Notes to editors:
Anglo American is a leading global mining company and our products are the essential ingredients in almost every aspect of modern life. Our portfolio of world-class competitive operations, with a broad range of future development options, provides many of the future-enabling metals and minerals for a cleaner, greener, more sustainable world and that meet the fast growing every day demands of billions of consumers. With our people at the heart of our business, we use innovative practices and the latest technologies to discover new resources and to mine, process, move and market our future-enabling products to our customers – safely and sustainably.
As a responsible producer of diamonds (through De Beers), copper, platinum group metals, premium quality iron ore and metallurgical coal for steelmaking, and nickel – with crop nutrients in development – we are committed to being carbon neutral across our operations by 2040. More broadly, our Sustainable Mining Plan commits us to a series of stretching goals to ensure we work towards a healthy environment, creating thriving communities and building trust as a corporate leader. We work together with our business partners and diverse stakeholders to unlock enduring value from precious natural resources for the benefit of the communities and countries in which we operate, for society as a whole, and for our shareholders. Anglo American is re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives.
1 April 2022 - $17.2 million funding secure for Heart of Australia services
Heart of Australia has received a major funding commitment of $17.2 million from the Federal Government to guarantee its mobile medical clinics will continue to service regional and rural Queenslanders for the next four years.
Founder and cardiologist, Dr Rolf Gomes, said he is thrilled Heart of Australia’s five mobile clinics will continue to provide improved access to specialist medical services for Queenslanders living in remote and regional areas of the state.
“I would especially like to thank the Minister for Regional Health, Dr David Gillespie, for his unwavering commitment and advocacy to ensure funding for Heart of Australia to continue delivering services for regional Queenslanders was included in the 2022-2023 Federal Budget,” Dr Gomes said.
“Having the continued support from the Federal Government can give Queenslanders living in rural and remote areas the confidence we will continue to be there for them, no matter what,” he said.
Heart of Australia’s fleet of five mobile medical clinics visit 33 Queensland communities from Goondiwindi in the south to Weipa in the far north and Winton in the west.
The clinics provide improved accessibility to a range of specialist medical services including cardiology, endocrinology, sleep medicine, geriatric medicine, immunology, neurology, psychiatry, gastroenterology, gynaecology, and general medicine, as well as CT and X-ray imaging for mine dust lung diseases, such as black lung and silicosis.
Since Heart of Australia began operations in 2014, medical specialists have seen more than 12,000 patients and saved more than 500 lives. The fleet has travelled more than 500,000 kilometres throughout Queensland.
Dr Gomes said the Federal Government’s support represents a significant boost to Heart of Australia to continue to provide high-quality specialist healthcare to some of Queensland’s most isolated communities over the next four years.
“This is a major step forward to ensure Queenslanders living in rural and remote areas have the same access to medical specialists as those living in the cities. It will make an enormous difference in improving lives and supporting the work of local GPs,” Dr Gomes said.
“Bringing medical services to regional and remote communities breaks down the barriers of distance, meaning more Queenslanders can get the health care they need.
“A special thank you also to all of Heart of Australia’s partners and supporters, whose ongoing contribution has been instrumental in helping us achieve this major milestone.”
11 February 2022 - A world-first delivering lung checks to regional miners
Heart of Australia, in partnership with the Queensland Government, has today (Friday 11 February, 2022) officially launched a first-of-its kind mobile medical imaging clinic called HEART 5, that will provide increased accessibility to lung checks to current and former mine and quarry workers in rural and remote Queensland.
The mobile medical imaging clinic is the fifth truck in the Heart of Australia fleet and includes X-ray and CT scanner equipment to assist in the screening and early detection of mine dust lung diseases, such as black lung and silicosis.
Heart of Australia founder, Dr Rolf Gomes, said he is thrilled to be working in partnership with the Queensland Government and Resources Safety and Health Queensland, which contributed $2 million towards the build and operation of HEART 5. The clinic will improve accessibility to respiratory health examinations for current and former mine and quarry workers as well as their broader communities across rural and remote areas of Queensland.
“The battery technology we have designed and built in Queensland to power the CT scanner means with HEART 5 we can do a CT parked on a mine site, and that is a world first. Through the collaboration of the project partners, the Queensland Government, Philips and I-MED, this technology and innovation has been made possible.
“HEART 5 breaks down the tyranny of distance, so if you do have a lung disease, we can find it early and quickly,” Dr Gomes said.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the HEART 5 is a revolutionary piece of technology that will bring high quality respiratory health screenings to mine and quarry workers in regional and remote parts of the state.
“We’re proud to have HEART 5 on the road helping to uphold our high standards for health and safety in the resources sector, and our government will continue to support workers, on and off the job site. Today marks an important day as we farewell HEART 5 from Brisbane, on its official rollout to regional Queensland,” Minister Stewart said.
Dr Gomes said providing rural patients with access to locally delivered medical imaging services will make an enormous difference in improving lives and supporting the work of local GPs.
“Heart of Australia is pioneering the delivery of radiology services in regional Queensland. For retired miners as well as those living in rural and remote communities, this means easier access to testing and screening which will improve patient health outcomes,” he said.
Since 2014, Heart of Australia’s medical specialists have seen more than 12,000 patients and saved more than 500 lives. The fleet has travelled more than 500,000 kilometres servicing towns from Stanthorpe in the south to Weipa in the far north and Winton in the west.
“With the launch of HEART 5, our CT truck, we will be finding more, treating more, and saving more lives,” Dr Gomes said.
1 July 2021 - Life-saving mobile medical clinic arrives in Northern Queensland
A mobile medical clinic has arrived in northern Queensland, bringing life-saving specialist medical services to a number of remote and regional communities for the first time.
Heart of Australia’s new truck, HEART 4, is on its inaugural trip taking city-based medical specialists to towns stretching from Cooktown to the Mackay Region.
Heart of Australia Founder and cardiologist, Dr Rolf Gomes, said the program has expanded through a $12 million boost from the Australian Government. Together with existing partners, the fourth mobile medical
clinic is starting a new northern route.
“We are very excited about the new era, opening new frontiers for Heart of Australia and helping address the imbalance for people in the bush when it comes to access to high-quality healthcare,” Dr Gomes said.
“Heart of Australia will bring specialists in cardiology, sonography, and sleep diagnostics to residents in Cooktown, Ayr, Sarina, and Proserpine.”
Dr Karam Kostner, head of cardiology at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, has worked with Dr Gomes and Heart of Australia since the first truck launched in 2014. He said: “It certainly saves many lives and it’s very
important. Personally, I’ve seen many patients on my rotations who would not have been saved if it wasn’t for the truck.”
“We’ll do ECGs, blood pressure monitors, halter monitors, sleep studies, CPAPs, a whole range of supporting services and supporting diagnostics,” Chris Wilson, Heart of Australia Medical Aide said.
HEART 4 is a 34-wheel custom-built, B-Double road train. It departed Brisbane last Sunday in preparation for the first-ever clinic in Cooktown tomorrow (Thursday, July 1, 2021). Heart of Australia now services 29
towns across Queensland and has two static clinics in Weipa and Palm Island.
“HEART 4 is a multi-million-dollar truck that needs to arrive at the right time, in the right place in order to save lives, and it’s my job to get it there,” Simon Crawford, Multiple Combination driver said.
Heart of Australia has travelled more than 500,000 kilometres, seen more than 11,000 patients, and saved more than 400 lives. Dr Rolf Gomes mortgaged his home to build the first truck seven years ago.
“Our aim is to close the gap between healthcare services available to people in the city and those living in the bush. Every Australian deserves access to quality health care regardless of where they live,” he said.
Link to Media Kit containing Video News Release and locations of HEART 4 available here.
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