Seems some local arm twisting down Canberra way has worked a treat.
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 Western Downs this week to announce $1 million towards supporting the delivery of the Heart Bus.
Dr Gillespie paid tribute to the advocacy and support of Senator Barry O’Sullivan and Federal member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, for pushing the case.
“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. Having practiced medicine for 33 years, I can appreciate this impressive service Dr Gomes has developed for rural communities across Queensland.”
Senator O’Sullivan says he believes 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. 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 says 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.”
“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, seen over 3,300 people, saving patients on average 860km of travel per visit.