Rotary Club of Albury's $90,000 donation brings fresh heart to Albury Wodonga Health's new cardiac catheter laboratory

HEALTHY INTEREST: Albury Wodonga Health's Leigh McJames and Rotary Club of Albury president Jean Burke in the soon-to-be completed cath lab. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

HEALTHY INTEREST: Albury Wodonga Health's Leigh McJames and Rotary Club of Albury president Jean Burke in the soon-to-be completed cath lab. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Albury Wodonga Health this week welcomed the cardiologist who will help develop its new heart service due to begin in July.

The arrival of Wei Sim, who has relocated from Melbourne to begin his Border role, represents another step towards the opening of the public cardiac catheter laboratory at Albury hospital.

Chief executive Leigh McJames said the cath lab construction remained on schedule for the initial diagnostic services and then the first interventional cardiology work in January.

“(Dr Sim’s) a significant appointment and then there’s a range of other support staff that have been appointed as well from our clinical lead through to our chief project personnel to work this service up,” Mr McJames said.

“It’s a new service so it takes time to actually develop it.”

Albury Wodonga Health on Tuesday accepted a $90,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Albury towards an echocardiogram for the cath lab.

President Jean Burke said this amount was one of the club’s largest single gifts, although other projects had received more over time.

“It’s important for the cath lab to get operational,” she said.

“I am sure it has to be traumatic (for patients) having to travel down to Melbourne or Sydney so anything that lessens that trauma and having the facilities here is great.

“To see Albury grow is brilliant.

“We will fully support Albury Wodonga Health in the future so that we grow to be a really world class facility if we can.” 

Rotarian Russell Hook said the donation came out of funds from a bequest from past member and president Graham Turner.

“It has grown to such an extent that in the last 10 years we’ve given away $1 million to the Albury community and various charities,” Mr Hook said.

“It’s been a fantastic thing.”

Mr McJames said the original $5 million funding for the cath lab did not cover all ancillary services, so a fundraising campaign was ongoing.

“Today’s a perfect example of the generosity of many community groups,” he said on Tuesday.

“Albury-Wodonga is a very generous community when it comes to worthy causes, their public health service is a worthy cause.

“Every cent we get goes back into the service we deliver.”