Friday - November 04, 2016

Check your heart health and the health of your medicine cabinet at the same time

Cardiac clinic on wheels Heart of Australia hosts city pharmacists to provide critical medicines advice to regional Australia

Volunteer Melbourne-based pharmacists will join the Heart of Australia mobile cardiac clinic on wheels this week across regional Queensland to help support local pharmacists in providing comprehensive reviews of patients’ medicines and in-depth discussions about their medicine needs.


More than 90% of home medicine reviews identified an issue with medications and more than half of medicines prescribed for long term conditions are not taken as recommended. 1

Home medicine reviews are conducted by a registered pharmacist and include an in-depth review and discussion of all medicines the patient is taking to ensure they are correct and are being taken correctly. Discussions may also include what to expect when taking medicines, clarifying any confusion, and providing answers to any questions about the medications.2


In addition to regular heart checks, the Heart of Australia clinic will for the first time include two pharmacists providing advice and a review of all medicines Heart of Australia patients are currently taking both for their heart health and other conditions for this special event. The proper use of medicines to maintain heart health is critical. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading underlying cause of death in Australia 3 and an even greater burden for people living in rural and remote areas. 4


Visiting pharmacist Michelle Cassumbhoy says “people often don’t realise the importance of taking medication as directed, particularly after a heart event or procedure. The consequences can be serious and in some cases even fatal.” 5


Cardiologist and Heart of Australia founder Dr Rolf Gomes believes, “it is critical that all Australians living in rural and remote areas have access to the same high quality healthcare as those living in bigger cities. A large part of this is the multidisciplinary approach to health including the role of the pharmacist and proper use of medicines.”



Fast Facts


·         Up to 50% of medicines prescribed for long term conditions are not taken as recommended.6

·         Each year more than 140,000 Australians are hospitalised with problems caused by their medicine. It has been shown that in approximately 70% of these cases the problem can be avoided. 2

·         Home Medicines Review pharmacists indicated that 20% of consumers need education about the proper use of their medications. 1

·         Heart of Australia sees approximately 17% Indigenous patients 7


Visiting pharmacists Alana Donaldson and Michelle Cassumbhoy are available for interview (full biographies attached).

About Heart of Australia


·         Heart of Australia (HoA) is the first mobile cardiology and respiratory clinic providing medical specialists to people in regional and rural communities across Queensland. 7

·         Launched two years ago, HoA has conducted 4,283 consultations with 2,388 patients. More than 250 patients have required urgent treatment, 30 were referred for open heart surgery.7

·         It is estimated 82 lives have been saved by identifying undiagnosed, life threatening cardiac conditions. 7

·         Early intervention provided by this mobile service has also resulted in 244 avoidable hospital admissions or a reduced length of stay. 7

·         Heart of Australia is sponsored by Bayer Australia.  Other key sponsors include foundation partner Arrow Energy, St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital, IOR Petroleum, Kenworth, RACQ, Telstra Country Wide, Brown & Hurley, QML Pathology, Servier, GT Insurance, Regional Express Airlines and Bridgestone Australia.

·         Heart of Australia will not be providing ongoing Pharmacy services to its patients, it is a special event only (3-7 November 2016).


About Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is very aware of the unique challenges that our country faces due to its size and the impact this has on managing the health of remote and rural Australians. Our support for the Heart of Australia recognises the importance of providing much needed local services. Operating in Australia since 1925, Bayer has had a long term commitment to the health of all Australians, the agricultural industry and the welfare of animals, large and small. Bayer Australia and New Zealand currently employs over 1,100 people with dedicated rural community based employees. Bayer is deeply committed to research and development and has a strong tradition of innovation with over 5,000



1.       Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Evaluation of the Home Medicines Review Program. June 2005

2.       NPS Medicine Wise. Home Medicines Review. Accessed October 2016

3.       AIHW. Leading Causes of Death. Accessed October 2016

4.       National Rural Health Alliance. New and Old Issues in Rural and Remote Health 2015

5.       American Heart Association. Medication Adherence. Accessed October 2016

6.       Barber N et al. Patients’ problems with new medication for chronic conditions. Qual Saf Health Care 2004;13(3):172–5.

7.       Heart of Australia data on file.