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Heart of Australia partnership

Monday, 27 February 2017

Heart of Australia partnership

When Mater’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Shane Kelly saw Dr Rolf Gomes on Australian Story, he was immediately struck by the positive impact Dr Gomes’s work was having in rural and remote areas of Queensland and was keen to offer Mater’s support.

Dr Gomes established the Heart of Australia program in October 2014 to deliver front-line specialist cardiology services to those who live in regional, rural and remote area communities across Queensland.

As a result of seeing Australian Story, Mater and Heart of Australia have formed a partnership which will see Mater provide support to Heart of Australia to help ensure the continuation of its services. 

Heart of Australia delivers fortnightly specialist medical investigation and treatment clinics to 13 regional, rural and remote area communities across Queensland using a customised road train—a specialist medical clinic on wheels. 

Dr Kelly said after watching Australian Story he felt there was a strong alignment between the two organisations.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, Mater’s Mission is to meet unmet community need and the work of Heart of Australia perfectly fits that Mission,” Dr Kelly said.

“There is a disparity in health outcomes in rural areas compared to metropolitan areas in Australia, and this program is really making an impact to reduce the difference in patient outcomes for rural and remote patients,” Dr Kelly said.

“Many people living in rural and remote Australia don’t seek medical advice simply due to the fact that their nearest specialist medical service is so far away.  Services like Heart of Australia are bringing critical medical services to people who otherwise would not have sought specialist medical advice, assessment and treatment.”

The Heart of Australia road train offers not only cardiology consultations but is equipped with the latest technology to enable echocardiograms, exercise stress testing, Holter monitoring and a range of other testing that may need to be performed.

“The Heart of Australia road train is technically very sophisticated,” said Dr Gomes.

“We have a group of cardiologists who provide their services to Heart of Australia and a range of other people involved such as sonographers and drivers as well as operational and admin staff, so scheduling everything is a logistical beast.”

Heart of Australia delivers fortnightly clinics to regional, rural and remote area communities across Queensland, including Dalby, Goondiwindi, Stanthorpe, St George, Charleville, Roma, Emerald, Barcaldine, Longreach, Hughenden, Winton Charters Towers and Moranbah.

In its second year of operation the Heart of Australia truck has travelled more than 150,000 km seeing over 2,600 patients and referring 30 of these for open heart surgery.

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Tags: community, Dr Shane Kelly