PACCAR donates to Heart of Australia

Heart of Australia’s K200 and state-of-the-art mobile clinic.
Heart of Australia’s K200 and state-of-the-art mobile clinic. Contributed

PACCAR Australia is donating the use of a Kenworth K200 cab to a new mobile health initiative that will bring high-level specialist medical services to remote communities, starting in the south-west of Queensland.

It's the Heart of Australia project, the brainchild of 41-year-old Queensland cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes.

It's claimed to be the only multi-specialty mobile clinic project yet undertaken in Australia.

In terms of the area it will cover, this also promises to be the most ambitious service of its kind anywhere in the world.

Heart of Australia was launched in Toowoomba early this month, with Kenworth's K200 hauling a 19m customised trailer outfitted with more than $500,000 worth of state-of-the-art medical equipment.

Dr Gomes says cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Australia, with one person dying every 12 minutes, but people living in remote areas have a far higher rate of hospitalisation and death resulting from the disease.

"The key problem is that so many of these communities do not have specialist cardiac health services," Dr Gomes said.

"That's the reason I founded Heart of Australia - to give people in the bush access to the same services the rest of Australia takes for granted."

In its first year, the mobile unit aims to travel more than 72,000 km, covering an area of more than 450,000sq km.

This will allow people from remote areas to access specialist services they would usually have to travel sometimes thousands of kilometres to reach.

Although Heart of Australia was launched in Toowoomba, the nearby town of Dalby will act as a hub for the south-west Queensland phase of the program.

The mobile clinic aims to service at least five rural and remote towns - and surrounding communities - in its first year of operation.

The mobile unit will stop in each town for two days and return for another two days each fortnight.

"The fortnightly visits will enable us to examine all the patients in a town referred by local general practitioners, and follow up on the progress of patients seen on earlier visits," Dr Gomes said.

"In addition, we will have experts in different specialties on different visits.

"On our first visit, for example, we would have a cardiologist. On our second visit to the town, we may have a cardiologist and an endocrinologist. On visits when a particular specialist isn't onboard, they can still conduct follow-up consultations via teleconferencing and telemedicine," he said.

Onboard at all times will be a nurse, a consulting cardiologist and a cardiac scientist/sonographer.

Other specialists and support staff will fly into towns and join the mobile clinic when required.

Heart of Australia has attracted widespread support from the Australian Medical Association Queensland, the Medicare Local health bodies which co-ordinate regional services and a growing number of GPs and councils. PACCAR was first to donate.

Big Rigs

Topics:  kenworth trucks paccar transport trucks

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.