Looking after hearts of North Queenslanders

People in regional Queensland with heart disease will access better health care thanks to the Palaszczuk Government.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the government was investing $12.4 million over four years to look after the hearts of rural and remote Queenslanders.

“One in three Queensland deaths are from cardiovascular disease and last year we saw a 10 per cent increase in the number of patients arriving at hospital with a cardiac condition,” Mr Miles said.

“Cardiovascular disease is even more challenging for people living in North Queensland and the Torres and Cape, some of whom live more than 2,000 km from major cardiac hospitals in Brisbane.

“We’re investing $12.4 million over four years to deliver cardiac care in some of the most rural, regional and remote communities.

“A new cardiac model of care will allow Queenslanders to access care by a coordinated team of cardiac specialists.

“This will first be implemented in North Queensland, with Townsville and Cairns Hospital becoming the northern hubs.

“Townsville Hospital hub will provide service to the Townsville and North West Hospital and Health Service regions, and the Cairns Hospital hub will provide services to the Cairns and Hinterland and Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service regions.

“The new model will ensure people in regional and rural areas get the care they need when they need to travel to a tertiary cardiac service like Cairns or Townsville Hospital, but also the care they need close to home though community care and telehealth services.

“The Palaszczuk Government is delivering more and better health services for all Queenslanders, no matter where you live.”

Dr Paul Garrahy, chair of the Statewide Cardiac Clinical Network and director of cardiology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, said Queensland had the most detailed cardiac procedural and outcome data in the country, which had enabled the identification of where services were most needed.

“We will start the upgrade programme in North Queensland. We have listened to consumers and clinicians to develop a model of care that will deliver the cardiac health outcomes that matter to Queenslanders.”

Dr Johanne Neill, cardiologist and clinical champion said, “We are working with clinicians across the state to make sure that we are doing the right cardiac investigations at the right time.”

Townsville Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kieran Keyes said the strategy would make the cardiac expertise available from Townsville more accessible to people in remote areas.

“We have the most sophisticated suite of cardiac services in Northern Australia based at The Townsville Hospital and world-class clinicians delivering that care,” he said.

Networked Cardiac Services outreach visits under the new strategy have already commenced in Cooktown, Hopevale and Yarrabah. Recruitment is progressing for the program, with a nursing co-ordinator and administrative staff in place and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker commencing in the coming weeks. Additional medical, nursing and allied health staff will be recruited over the coming months to support the initiative.

“I am really excited at what this new cardiac model will offer for Queenslanders,” said consumer representative, Bronwyn Smith.

Delivering What Matters in Cardiac Care Strategy model will be progressively rolled out across Queensland in the coming years.

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