Heart of Australia, in partnership with the Queensland Government, has officially launched a first-of-its kind mobile medical imaging clinic called HEART 5, that will provide increased accessibility to lung checks to current and former mine and quarry workers in rural and remote Queensland.

The mobile medical imaging clinic is the fifth truck, a DAF XF 530 prime mover, in the Heart of Australia fleet and includes X-ray and CT scanner equipment to assist in the screening and early detection of mine dust lung diseases, such as black lung and silicosis.

Heart of Australia founder, Dr Rolf Gomes, said he is thrilled to be working in partnership with the Queensland Government and Resources Safety and Health Queensland, which contributed $2 million towards the build and operation of HEART 5. The clinic will improve accessibility to respiratory health examinations for current and former mine and quarry workers as well as their broader communities across rural and remote areas of Queensland.

“The battery technology we have designed and built in Queensland to power the CT scanner means with HEART 5 we can do a CT parked on a mine site, and that is a world first. Through the collaboration of the project partners, the Queensland Government, Philips and I-MED, this technology and innovation has been made possible.

“HEART 5 breaks down the tyranny of distance, so if you do have a lung disease, we can find it early and quickly,” Dr Gomes said.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the HEART 5 is a revolutionary piece of technology that will bring high quality respiratory health screenings to mine and quarry workers in regional and remote parts of the state.

“We’re proud to have HEART 5 on the road helping to uphold our high standards for health and safety in the resources sector, and our government will continue to support workers, on and off the job site. Today marks an important day as we farewell HEART 5 from Brisbane, on its official rollout to regional Queensland,” Minister Stewart said.

Dr Gomes said providing rural patients with access to locally delivered medical imaging services will make an enormous difference in improving lives and supporting the work of local GPs.

“Heart of Australia is pioneering the delivery of radiology services in regional Queensland. For retired miners as well as those living in rural and remote communities, this means easier access to testing and screening which will improve patient health outcomes,” he said.

Since 2014, Heart of Australia’s medical specialists have seen more than 12,000 patients and saved more than 500 lives. The fleet, that includes two Kenworth K200 prime movers and now two DAF XF 530 prime movers, has travelled more than 500,000 kilometres servicing towns from Stanthorpe in the south to Weipa in the far north and Winton in the west.

“With the launch of HEART 5, our CT truck, we will be finding more, treating more, and saving more lives,” Dr Gomes said.