Cardiac care service expands

St John of God Bendigo Hospital is now offering a full suite of cardiac care services with the launch of a new Cardiac Assessment Unit (CAU).

14 May 2024

Caregivers from the St John of God Bendigo Hospital cardiac assessment unit team stand in the theatre room smiling at the camera.

The service can be accessed by referral and is supported by a highly-skilled medical team. 

There are six cardiologists rostered on site to provide rapid diagnosis and treatment as part of this new service. 

Chief Executive Michael Hogan said the hospital’s CAU provides fast, high-quality care for people experiencing chest pain or a heart-related condition. 

“It helps ensure quick access to a cardiologist, appropriate diagnostic equipment, highly trained nursing staff and, if necessary, our Intensive Care Unit,” he said. 

“We’re now offering this service five days a week through referral by a GP, a hospital or a paramedic.” 

The cardiologists are Dr Balashankar Saravanasubramanian, Dr Himawan Fernando, Dr Anthony Jackson, Dr Joris Mekel, Dr Voltaire Nadurata and Dr Nimalan Nadarajah. 

The CAU service offers direct admission to our Critical Care Unit, for privately insured patients with acute cardiology problems. 

“We also have access to intensive care specialists from the ICU,” Dr Mekel said. 

“We have access to other medical specialists, and to a comprehensive suite of investigations for patients, including echocardiography, coronary angiography, pacemaker implantation, and interrogation.” 

Dr Fernando said the unit has cutting-edge technology. 

“We can really offer the next-generation interventional technology here, so our patients don’t have to travel down to Melbourne to access that,” he said. 

Dr Nadurata said the care provided is very personalised. 

“Patients are well looked after, we have great equipment and great staff,” he said.

“The teamwork is excellent, and we have great support from top to bottom of the whole hospital.” 

Mr Hogan said the benefits of the expanded service for privately insured patients included timely admission and an immediate cardiology review. 

“This means the best care is available straight away,” he said. 

“Diagnostic and interventional cardiology, such as coronary angioplasty, can be offered in appropriate cases. 

“Prompt assessment, investigation and treatment of chest pain has been shown to improve health outcomes.” 

For referring doctors and paramedics, a single phone call puts them in touch with an on-call cardiologist. The hours of operation for the CAU are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Call 1800 850 133 or email [email protected].