Mark Knowles, Cape York Weekly
Cape York residents now have unprecedented access to specialist medical care and diagnostics via a new mobile health clinic operated by Heart of Australia.
Its new truck, “HEART 4” will see specialists from all over the country unite to give residents in Cooktown and the southern Cape access to cardiology, sonography, cardiac monitoring, sleep diagnostics and respiratory services.
Planning is also underway for Palm Island and Weipa residents to access similar facilities via static clinics.
Construction of the new $2.5 million mobile clinic in Brisbane started in late 2019 following a $12 million three-year federal Government funding commitment announced in Mackay in 2019.
Cardiologist and founder of Heart of Australia Dr Rolf Gomes said HEART 4’s first visit to Cooktown was a resounding success.
“The clinic was fully booked; I don’t think we would have been able to see any more patients than we did at the time,” he said.
“A lot of passers-by were enquiring about what the service delivered and how they would access the service.”
The wheelchair accessible mobile clinic has two consulting rooms, two tech rooms, a full kitchen, AV systems with screens and projectors, a reception area, full air conditioning and toilet facilities.
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said it was a great service that brought city facilities to the bush.
“The people of Cooktown are really lucky to get access to these services and we’re hoping the truck will get up to Weipa at some stage,” the MP said.
“It does require a referral from a doctor, usually a GP, so it would be up to the Weipa-based GP to make those referrals.
“As far as the federal government is concerned, this has been a great investment that is delivering really good health outcomes across regional Queensland and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
There is more than $1 million worth of medical and IT equipment on board the truck, which is driven by a DAF XF 530 prime mover and can be self-powered for up to 10 days using diesel, batteries and solar panels.
Heart of Australia provides specialist medical services including cardiology and respiratory medicine, so patients will need a referral from their GP to make an appointment. Once a GP referral letter is obtained patients can call 3162 5310 or email email@example.com to make a booking.
When attending their appointments patients should bring their GP referral letter, a list of medications they are taking, any recent radiology scans and their other specialist or doctor’s contact details.
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 14 September 2021.