Photo: Charleville Hospital Nurse Practitioner Nicky McKellar and a test patient working with the
cardiac stress testing equipment during a training session at Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Charleville Hospital will begin offering locally-delivered cardiac stress testing from November,
thereby saving residents long journeys to the city for their procedure.

South West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Linda Patat said the local stress tests
would be delivered at Charleville under a program supported by the Princess Alexandra
Hospital (PAH) in Brisbane.

“With cardiac stress testing already available at Roma, once Charleville is on line, we will have
two sites in the South West where clients can have these tests done without having to travel
further afield,’’ she said.

Ms Patat said Charleville Hospital doctor Katie Chang and Nurse Practitioner Nicky McKellar
had completed training to be able to undertake the cardiac stress tests locally.

“As part of our strategic plan over the next four years, our aim is to improve access to services
and health outcomes for communities right across our region in the most efficient and effective
manner possible,’’ Ms Patat said.

“Introducing this new cardiac stress testing service at Charleville, to supplement the program at
Roma, is one of many initiatives we are pursuing to achieve this goal.’’

Charleville Hospital Senior Medical Officer Dr Katie Chang said she was very excited to be able
to provide important cardiac investigation services locally in Charleville.

“Having access to services locally is essential to keep our community healthy and know they
are receiving the best care,’’ Dr Chang said.

“And it’s great to have the help and support in this of the fantastic team at PAH.’’

Charleville Hospital Nurse Practitioner Nicky McKellar, who was born and raised in the small
community, said she was pleased to be involved in delivering the new service.

“By offering this service, we’re going to see more people in the community tested more often,
and that’s going to save lives,” she said.

“It’s a nine-hour drive or two-hour flight to get to Brisbane, and for a lot of people that’s just too
far for regular testing.

“Healthcare at home by people you know is better.

“They’ll be able to get their tests done locally at Charleville and, if any abnormalities are
identified, they can then be referred to a specialist for further care.’’

Ms McKellar said she had been prompted to become involved in the cardiac stress testing
program through her role as a Nurse Practitioner.

“Chronic disease is a major focus of my role and heart disease is one of the leading causes of
avoidable death in Australia, so it was a natural progression for me to become involved in the
cardiac stress testing program,’’ she said.

Charleville is one of several trial sites where PAH is helping regional hospitals tackle Australia’s
most common form of heart disease by arming them with the equipment and training to
diagnose and track it.

“We’re aiming to bridge the healthcare gap that exists between regional, remote and indigenous
communities by training rural staff and providing them with the necessary equipment,” PAH
Cardiac Physiologist Glen Andrews said.

“Coronary artery disease is where fatty deposits reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the
heart.

“The most common way we diagnose and track it is with exercise stress testing but you need a
treadmill, electrocardiograph, blood pressure monitor and trained staff to do it.

“In a stress test, you walk on a treadmill that makes your heart work progressively harder while
we monitor your heart and look for symptoms like chest discomfort or fatigue.’’

ENDS

For further information contact:
James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379
Jim.Guthrie@health.qld.gov.au