The Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, joined the Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, MP, and the founder of the Heart of Australia, Dr Rolf Gomes in Dalby today to announce $1 million towards supporting the delivery of the lifesaving service.
“Cardiovascular disease affects one in six Australians — that’s over 3.7 million Australians. We are committed to ensuring that all Australians — regardless of whether they live in the bush or the city, have access to first rate health and medical services,” Dr Gillespie said.
Dr Gillespie paid tribute to the advocacy and support of Senator Barry O’Sullivan, Senator for Queensland, for bringing the Heart of Australia to his attention.
“Senator Barry O’Sullivan and David Littleproud have been two of the greatest advocates regional Australia could have wanted – and we are here today, delivering for the Heart of Australia.”
“As soon I was given the portfolio, Barry was the first person through my door and on my phone, telling me about this amazing, humble service that was saving lives in the bush and this has been taken up by David Littleproud with the same level of determination since he was elected.”
“So at the earliest opportunity I visited the Heart of Australia truck with Barry and David in Dalby last year. Having practiced medicine for 33 years, I can appreciate this impressive service Dr Gomes has developed for rural communities across Queensland.”
Senator O’Sullivan said he believed the Heart of Australia provided a long term template to provide better access to specialist health services to people in rural and remote Australia.
“This bus is a game changer for the delivery of reliable and quality specialist health services to provincial Queensland,” Senator O’Sullivan said.
“This bus has saved lives and, thanks to this latest funding boost, it will continue to save lives for days, months and years to come.
Mr Littleproud said the work and dedication of Dr Gomes and his team was making a difference for better rural health.
“We’re a stoic mob so a doctor’s appointment is often put at the end of the ‘to do list’, but the Heart of Australia’s 8000km journey around country Queensland each month means we have local access to world-class specialists,” Mr Littleproud said.
“I know people who’ve gone to the Heart Bus for a check-up, because it was in town so the visit was convenient, not realising they were ill and they were promptly referred for surgery.
“If they had waited to see a doctor during their next city visit, it could’ve been too late so this service really does save lives and is so important for health in Maranoa.”
To date, the truck has travelled more than 150,000 kilometres and Dr Gomes and his team have made over 850 visits to regional and remote towns.
“We’ve seen over 3,300 people, saving our patients on average 860km of travel per visit,” Dr Gomes said.
“We are pleased our Federal Members have provided tangible recognition of the benefit the service is delivering to regional Australians.”
For more information, contact:
Minister Gillespie’s office on 02 6277 4960
Senator O’Sullivan’s office on 07 4638 7555
Mr Littleproud’s office on 07 4662 3822
Dr Gomes’ office on 07 3162 5310