Heart Bus looking to expand its services

Heart of Australia bus looking to expand services as it rolls into western Queensland

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Cardiac scientist Maria Abrigo inside the Heart Bus in Barcaldine.

Cardiac scientist Maria Abrigo inside the Heart Bus in Barcaldine.

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The bus wants to provide access to other services, such as neurology and obstetrics

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It can be a hard slog convincing friends and family just to see the doctor or to get a check up.

But cardiac scientist Maria Abrigo says some people are so happy to see the Heart Bus roll into town, they burst into tears.

Heart of Australia, founded by Dr Rolf Gomes in 2014, runs mobile cardiology clinics that tour around 16 towns in rural Queensland.

Ms Abrigo said the service estimated it had saved 200 lives since it began.

“Some patients show up crying when they see us,” she said, during a visit to Barcaldine on Tuesday. 

“People realise they haven’t been forgotten.

“We’ve saved around 200 lives – if we hadn’t come to these towns, those people would not have survived.”

Lachlan Millar, Ros Bates and Maria Abrigo during a stop in Barcaldine.

Lachlan Millar, Ros Bates and Maria Abrigo during a stop in Barcaldine.

Heart of Australia now runs two purpose-built trailers servicing Queensland, as well as a smaller mini-clinic, with a fourth vehicle on the way.

Ms Abrigo said the Heart Bus was hoping to secure funding to expand, both in terms of the areas it could visit and the types of care it is able to provide, such as neurology and obstetrics.

“Remote areas have a high incidence of cardiovascular disease,” she said.

“We need more support so that we can provide more services to help these areas.”

LNP member for Gregory Lachlan Millar and LNP state health spokeswoman Ros Bates dropped in to see the Heart Bus during its stop in Barcaldine.

“You are more likely to die of heart disease in the outback than you are if you live on the coast,” Mr Millar said.

“We need this kind of service out here. It’s amazing how big a difference it makes.”

Ms Bates said the Heart Bus service plugged a crucial gap in isolated areas that could struggle to attract specialists. 

“One of the big problems is we struggle to get experts out here,” she said.

“So bringing the services to towns like this is worth its weight in gold.”

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