Ballarat Base Hospital second cardiac cath lab opened

HEART HEALTH: Ballarat Health Services cardiac patient Allitt Robinson and his wife Eileen, of Horsham, with Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy. Picture: LACHLAN BENCE
HEART HEALTH: Ballarat Health Services cardiac patient Allitt Robinson and his wife Eileen, of Horsham, with Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy. Picture: LACHLAN BENCE

FOR Horsham resident Allitt Robinson, a trip to Ballarat Base Hospital to investigate the blood vessels and arteries in his heart isn’t such an overwhelming prospect. 

Although it’s a two-and-a-half-hour trip each way, he said he was thankful that angiography technology was a little closer to home than it used to be. 

“It’s a lot easier to get (to Ballarat) and lot better than Melbourne, I can tell you that,” Mr Robinson said. 

“I had an angiogram ... where they went up and had a look to see if there was anything wrong with my heart.

“These are things we can’t do in Horsham. 

“I’ll be able to just go home tomorrow.”

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy launched Ballarat Health Services’ second cardiac catheterisation laboratory last week. 

The project, worth $10 million, caters for increasing cardiac demand in the region.

It extends the number of heart procedures undertaken such as stenting, angiography and inserting pacemakers.

A Heart Foundation report says the Ballarat region has the highest incidence of cardiovascular disease in the state, at 32.3 per cent of the population.

It is the second highest rate in Australia. 

Cardiologist Associate Professor Ernesto Oqueli said the hospital would also increase their service capacity from February 2018, with the implementation of a 24-hour, seven days a week acute service for people suffering heart attacks. 

“It’s a boost to our ability to provide world-class cardiac treatment for the population of our region,” he said. 

“This will increase our cardiac procedure capacity, from our current 20 to 30 cardiac procedures per week, to up to 50 cardiac procedures per week.

“Having these facilities has given our population the opportunity to be treated closer to home anc closer to family and friends, which is not a disadvantage.”

The significantly increased patient capacity due to the dedicated cardiac cath lab will allow for additional recovery space for patients.

Ms Hennessy said in some instances, people living in regional areas had worse health outcomes, partly because of the inconvenience of travelling to Melbourne for treatment. 

“Getting access to things such as stents and good interventions can give people that second chance at life,” Ms Hennessy said. 

“That’s one of the most important opportunities that the new cath lab presents.

“Being able to be visited and not have the tyranny of distance keeping you away from your family… It’s about being embedded in, and supported by, your community.”