Receiving specialist healthcare in remote and rural Australia at times can be a challenge.
The idea of driving hours to the cities for treatment many take for granted can seem daunting for some.
However, specialist mobile medical vehicles such as Heart of Australia’s Heart Trucks are changing the tide for rural Queensland…just ask the folks of Emerald.
Until the glimmering view of HEART 1 rolled through town, the need for specialist treatment may have succumbed to the tyranny of distance.
Heart of Australia’s routine trip to Emerald turned out to be a stroke of luck for Ellen, a patient suffering from a serious heart condition. Directed by her GP to see the specialist cardiologist onboard HEART 1, Ellen found immediate answers that day.
“I went to my local GP and he told me I’d was going to have to go and see the specialist, and I thought to myself…well, that’s going to be a while. Then he said, it just so happens they’re flying in today, and I couldn’t believe it,” Ellen says.
Heart of Australia is the brainchild of Brisbane cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes. The program was built on a simple idea: how to make specialist healthcare more accessible to the masses.
“At Heart of Australia we like to get out there, find the patients, listen to their stories, do the tests to find what’s wrong with them and then get on with treatment,” Dr Gomes says.
“Ultimately, the mission of Heart of Australia is to give country people an equal chance at a long and healthy life.”
Servicing Heart of Australia’s Central Route, HEART 1 has travelled hundreds of thousands of kilometres since it launched in 2014.
HEART 1 is the first of five specialist medical trucks that Heart of Australia has hauling along the Queensland highways, with the network working in conjunction to offer and service the bush with a suite of specialist care ranging from its cardiac trucks or its new respiratory clinic on wheels.
“For Heart of Australia, which is making health care more accessible for country patients, this is what it’s all about,” Gomes says. As for Ellen, her experience with Heart of Australia in her community of Emerald has given her a new lease on life.
“I think (Heart of Australia) is a marvellous thing – as a heart patient you’re a sick person and having to wait months and all of that travel to get to one of the cities is tough, I just think it’s a marvellous thing that they can get out to the people,” Ellen says.