Health truck brings lung checks to remote QLD workers

One of Heart of Australia's trucks. Image: Heart of Australia

The Queensland Government has awarded a contract to build and operate a mobile health service to Heart of Australia in a bid to deliver lung health checks to regional mine workers.

The 25-metre long, two-trailer health truck will be on the road by the end of the year, clocking around 50,000 kilometres annually for at least six years.

It will deliver chest X-rays and respiratory checks, which are aimed to reach the coalfields across the Bowen and Surat Basins, the North West Minerals Province and the opal and gem fields in the west and south-west of the state.

Queensland’s Assistant State Development Minister Julieanne Gilbert said the exact routes and schedule were being planned to work with existing services.

“The mobile service will complement existing health facilities already available to current and former workers across the state,” she said.

The Queensland Government has committed $2.2 million for the mobile screening service.

Heart of Australia founder Rolf Gomes explained that the truck would be built and fitted out in Queensland and operated by a multidisciplinary team.

According to the Queensland Government, Heart of Australia has several years’ experience providing medical service clinics to the state’s rural and remote communities via custom-designed trucks.

“When you step on board the new mobile clinic you will find a range of sophisticated equipment similar to what you would find in a respiratory practice in the city,” Gomes said.

“There will be the capacity to conduct full health assessments for current and former mine workers, including chest X-ray screenings, as well as follow-up investigations like high-resolution computed tomography and complex lung function testing where required.

“Depending on what service is needed in each region, staff required to operate the service could include doctors, nurses, radiographers, and of course a truck driver.”

The Queensland Government expects to also provide health assessments for mine rescue personnel and hearing protecting fit testing through the prime mover truck.