Health Clinic to Cover More Ground

Posted on 6th March 2015

RuralWeekly - Central Queensland

EXPANSION has started early for Queensland’s pioneering program delivering regularly-scheduled “at home” specialist medical clinics to some of Australia’s most remote rural and mining communities.

It means that just five months after being launched in the state’s south-west, the Heart of Australia program that employs a custom-built semi-trailer clinic-on-wheels will more than double its monthly road travel to almost 6000km to visit 10 towns – from St George in the south to Charters Towers in the north.

The program founder, Brisbane-based cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes, has
confirmed that from a “packed house” inaugural clinic just days agoin Emerald, the Heart of Australia service plans to also visit the mining centre of Moranbah, along with Charters Towers, Barcaldine and Hughenden,on a
twice-a-month schedule.

“Quite simply, we could not ignore the clear need and willing support of the people out there – the local general practitioners, councils and businesses – so we’ve fast-tracked the spread of our service territory into the central west,” Dr Gomes said.

“Australians on our coastal fringe are often mind-boggled by the distances and sense of remoteness of the true bush, where so many people just like them have committed to living, working and raising families in remote areas.

“The first thing Heart of Australia offers is relief from having to drive perhaps for days, leaving home and family and maybe hanging around in a city overnight, for what could turn out to be a 20-minute medical consultation.

“In the first months of our south-west circuits, we’ve encountered many patients- too many – who’ve been ignoring signs of serious health problems just because to get to see a specialist has, for them, been too hard, too disruptive.”

In the south-west clinic circuits that cover Dalby, Roma, Goondiwindi, Charleville and St George, Dr Gomes has added respiratory disease specialist services, and has plans to include other specialties “as soon as practicable”.

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