Minister for Health Jill Hennessy MP, stops to say hello to Mr Allitt Robinson and his wife Eileen, from Horsham. Ms Hennessy was in Ballarat last Thursday to announce the opening of the new Cath Lab in Ballarat last Thursday.

MINISTER for Health Jill Hennessy was in Ballarat last Friday to officially open Ballarat Health Services second Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory to cater for the increasing demand for the service in the region.

Cardiac catheterisation laboratories – known as ‘cath labs’ – are used for lifesaving heart procedures such as stenting, angiography, inserting pacemakers and implantable defibrillators.

The new $10 million facility – a key election promise – includes additional recovery space to significantly increase capacity so that many more people with cardiovascular disease can get the care they need sooner and enjoy better health outcomes.

Thanks to Ballarat’s second Cath Lab, more patients across Western Victoria will be able to access urgent heart assessments and procedures closer to home instead of travelling to Melbourne or Geelong.

National Heart Foundation data shows 32.3 per cent of people in Ballarat have cardiovascular disease, which can cause heart attacks and stroke, the highest rate in Victoria.

BHS Board Of Directors Chair Rowena Coutts said it was three years ago that the Minister came to the hospital to commence this project.

“Ballarat Health Services is extremely grateful for the very generous support that your government gives us,” Ms Coutts said.

“Without that we would be unable to provide the extensive support that we are able to our region and beyond and also make sure we have the capacity to support growing needs of our community.” Ms Hennessy said people in the Grampians region are over represented when it came to cardiovascular disease.

“Doubling the size of this cath lab, to be able to provide a platform with modern equipment that people in this region deserve and to ensure that the staff in Ballarat, and make no mistake, have world-class clinical abilityfor the team here, who work so hard, their work truly saves lives,” she said.

Representing the nursing team, Associate Professor Ernesto Oqueli, said it was an honour to be part of such a great team.

”The operation of this second cath lab is a great step forward for our hospital and will boost our ability to provide first class cardiac treatment to our patients,” he said.

“Having this facility has given our population the opportunity to be treated closer to home, family and friends.

“I’m proud and pleased to mention that our intervention in cardiology outcomes here in Ballarat is no different from those in major metropolitan hospitals.

“This new dedicated cath lab is staged to increase our service capacity, from February 2018, to 24 hours seven days a week acute intervention service for patients with heart attacks and will also increase cardiac procedural capacity from current 20-30 cardiac procedures per week to up to 50 per week.”