Media Release: Highway to health for the bush is going further

Posted on 16th November 2016

Bush Queensland’s pioneering “to-your-door” specialist medical program Heart of Australia, is growing again – way ahead of expectations.

Two newly-recruited specialist doctors, cardiologist Dr Roly Hilling-Smith and endocrinologist Dr Merryn Thomae, are to share a new Heart of Australia travelling clinic roster to the Southern Downs centre of Stanthorpe – starting this week (Friday, November 18).

Cardiologist and Heart of Australia founder Dr Rolf Gomes said the program has “successfully engaged with local council and General Practitioners who have identified that because of medical need in the Stanthorpe district, our visiting specialist clinics will provide a direct benefit to this community”.

“We are delighted to bring our services to Stanthorpe so that the people there – living almost on the Qld/NSW border – will have access for the first time to regularly-scheduled visits by specialists,” he said.

“We’re hoping Stanthorpe will be a lucky 13 for the local district people because Stanthorpe becomes the 13th town on our travelling clinics circuits, joining Dalby, Goondiwindi, St George, Charleville, Roma, Longreach, Winton, Emerald, Barcaldine, Hughenden, Charters Towers and Moranbah”.

“That marks truly outstanding growth and community acceptance for Heart of Australia since we started on the road just two years ago with only five bush towns on the roster,” Dr Gomes said.

He said that in the past two years, Heart of Australia has conducted 4,283 consultations with
2,388 patients; more than 250 patients have required urgent treatment; 30 patients were referred for open heart surgery; and “we estimate that 82 lives have been saved because we have been able to identify previously-undiagnosed cardiac conditions”.

In addition, the Heart of Australia mobile clinic service has resulted in 244 avoidable hospital admissions or a reduced length of hospital stay.

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