CLOSE TO HOME: High quality heart care to save Coast lives
A NEW health unit at Hervey Bay Hospital will give Fraser Coast patients with heart conditions better access to early intervention services, potentially saving lives.
The Cardiac Investigation Unit (CIU), a partnership between the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and health provider GenesisCare, was opened by health executives and doctors on Friday.
Funded by $500,000 worth of health technology, doctors will use state-of-the-art cardiology machines to provide services ranging from echocardiography, stress testing and cardiac CT angiography.
Echocardiography works as an ultrasound of the heart, making it easier for cardiologists to assess a patient's heart muscle, valves and large blood vessels and diagnose heart conditions.
For Dean Manning, having these services at the city's doorstep means lives could be saved.
The Hervey Bay resident, born with a heart condition requiring regular check-ups, now has peace of mind knowing he can get the service he needs without having to travel hundreds of kilometres to metro hospitals.
"The distance to travel is a factor, not having to do that now and having the ease of the unit here is going to help out,” Mr Manning said.
"There's a possibility back in 2005 if it (my condition) wasn't found early, I could have ended up having a heart transplant.
"This service is critical, that's for sure.”
Dr Angus Thompson, cardiologist at GenesisCare and Hervey Bay Hospital, said there was limited access to echocardiography services in the Fraser Coast and the new unit would relieve the burden on patients.
"By improving access we can improve health outcomes long term and hopefully increase survival,” Dr Thompson said.
"People are often missing work to get to appointments.
"We have a large older population and they have limited ability to drive long distances... having this service here helps them get in quicker and be seen sooner.”