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Thursday / June 13.
HomeminewsBayer Takes Health Services to Regional Queensland

Bayer Takes Health Services to Regional Queensland

Bayer has supported the expansion of Australia’s first cardiology clinic-on-wheels, by sponsoring three support vehicles to transport specialists to and from the clinic as it makes its way around regional Queensland.

Heart of Australia, the vision of cardiologist Dr. Rolf Gomes, was established 14 months ago and has already saved the lives of 70 people.

The 25m-long clinic-on-wheels clinic is driven by a Kenworth K200 prime mover and travels 7,000 km every month, visiting 11 bush towns. Purpose-built and completely self-sufficient, it comprises two private clinic rooms, a testing room and a reception area for patients. The clinic is equipped with non-invasive cardiac and respiratory testing equipment and state-of-the art diagnostic equipment to performs stress tests, cardiac ultrasounds and Holter monitoring. It is wheelchair accessible and fully-air-conditioned.

With satellite technology on board, Heart of Australia technicians can access patient records and, when problematic cases are encountered, have ultrasound imaging transferred to Brisbane for review by cardiologists and other doctors. For critical cases, patient transport can be arranged simultaneously, as the images are transferred to the hospital.

At an event in Goondiwindi to mark the expansion of Heart of Australia’s service, Dr. Gomes said, “The ability to close the loop from symptom to diagnosis to treatment is what makes all the difference – that’s what Heart of Australia represents – bringing specialists, transporting health infrastructure out into regional communities.

“It took five years to transform vision into reality. Bayer has been with us right from the start. It’s a real commitment to innovation, for supporting the battler, for helping us to grow and in doing so, benefiting thousands of Australians who happen to live and work out in remote parts of the state. In the past 12 months we’ve seen over 2000 patients and saved the lives of 70 people.

“Often time is of the essence,” said Dr. Gomes. “The waiting lists are so long that people with heart disease can die waiting.” Even those at the top of the list can find the process of seeking care and treatment too much. “It can take three visits over months to diagnose a heart condition – to see a registrar, go back for tests, and then go back again for diagnosis – sometimes people don’t come back because it’s just too hard, too far, they have to sleep in the car,” said Dr. Gomes.

“Earlier in the year we extended Heart of Australia’s reach to include six towns in the north and central parts of Queensland. It became obvious this required more support vehicles. We reached out to Bayer to see if they could assist, I was humbled and deeply grateful when Bayer offered to help in supporting Heart of Australia vehicles. Three fully equipped vehicles that bring specialists to the bush.”

The clinic now visits Dalby, Roma, Charleville, St George, Goondiwindi, Barcaldine, Charters Towers, Emerald, Hughenden, Moranbah and Longreach.

As well as sponsoring Heart of Australia vehicles, Bayer has sponsored GP education sessions, which are run by cardiologists, in towns that the service visits. Jan Toomey, Medical Director, Bayer Pharmaceuticals said, “Heart of Australia is the most extraordinary vision – it’s the most wonderful initiative to be able to bring this to people who might otherwise not have access… People in rural Australia are less likely to access treatment, less likely to start treatment and more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than people in the cities who have immediate access to care.”

He said combining the two organisations’ brand statements resulted in a powerful descriptor for the work that Heart of Australia was doing, with the support of Bayer and other sponsors: “We’re on the highway to health, bringing science for a better life,” he said.