Column by Stuart Armitage, QFF President
Do you know what the dominant cardiac service provider for rural and remote Queenslanders currently is? What if I told you that this service came to your local community, was predominately privately funded, consulted over 1,500 new patients each year and is accessible to everyone?
Answer: the Heart of Australia cardiac and respiratory truck; and it is changing how rural and regional Queenslanders are engaging medical assistance and support. By bringing services that would normally require multiple visits to and from the cities together into one mobile clinic, it has been estimated that Heart of Australia has already saved regional Queenslanders over 7,046,887 km in travel alone.
Just last year I underwent a cardiac stress test and ultrasound at the truck when it visited Cecil Plains. The test uncovered some irregularities and concerns that I was then able to resolve within a week during a trip to Brisbane after the appropriate specialist referral. The streamlined services of Heart of Australia resulted in a quick diagnosis, which enabled me to take the appropriate follow up steps to resolve the issue. Fair to say this process would have taken considerably longer through traditional medical channels.
An essential service such as Heart of Australia should be available to more Queenslanders living in rural and regional areas. While the truck is already over-delivering in the communities it services, many communities, particularly those in Far North Queensland, continue to miss out.
With a second truck currently being built, now is a good time for state and federal governments and private businesses to consider how they can contribute to sustaining and expanding this life-saving service to more Queenslanders currently dealing with the tyranny of distance.
Queenslanders in rural areas are nearly twice as likely to die of heart related diseases, making Heart of Australia’s work essential. Simply, it’s hard to be a good farmer if you’re not in good health.
See when Heart of Australia is in your town HERE: https://www.heartofaustralia.com/