Far North Queenslanders will now be able to access a mobile cardiology service with the federal government announcing $12 million in funding to Heart of Australia.
Funding will support their two mobile specialist clinics and help to build a third service which will service Far North Queensland and Cape York, bringing the total number communities serviced by Heart of Australia across the state to 25.
Federal Leichhardt MP, Warren Entsch, said residents living in Far North Queensland, including in Cairns, Cooktown, and Weipa, will be able to step on board the mobile clinics and get appropriate and timely care.
He said funding would be provided over three years from July 2019 to significantly expand the reach and scope of these services.
“This is a great win for Far North Queensland and I have been advocating for greater access to specialised health services across our region,” Mr Entsch said.
“The service supports investigation, diagnosis and consultation facilities, hosts telemedicine consultations, and teleconferencing, in addition to creating more jobs.
“The Heart of Australia mobile cardiology service has had a significant impact on reducing the severity and incidence of cardiovascular disease since 2014.
“Remote and very remote areas of Cape York and the Torres Strait have heart disease hospitalisation and death rates 30 per cent higher than in major cities.”
Federal health minister, Greg Hunt, said the announcement was about saving lives and protecting lives.
He said the federal government recognised that Australians living in rural and remote locations often don’t have access to the health services and professional care found in our major cities.
“The mobile specialist clinics aim to deliver around 930 clinic days a year, see up to 18,000 patients and will give 24 specialist education sessions a year,” Mr Hunt said.
“When the three mobile specialist clinics are operating, they will service 25 communities each month across Queensland.
“The $12 million will improve a wide range of outreach health services to communities in need including cardiology, endocrinology, sleep medicine, psychiatry, geriatric medicine, immunology, general medicine, neurology, gastroenterology and gynaecology.
“Diagnostic medical equipment will also be supported including cardiac stress testing, ECG monitoring, 24 hour heart rhythm-monitoring, cardiac ultrasound, colposcopy, sleep apnoea testing and device fitting, nerve conduction studies, liver fibroscan, respiratory function, respiratory function testing, 24 hour blood pressure monitoring and telehealth services.”