Isuzu recruited in NT breast cancer fight

Hot-pink 4WD FTS 800 on Mills-Tui body brings breast screening services to women in remote areas

Isuzu recruited in NT breast cancer fight
The mobile breast-screening clinic


The Northern Territory Health Department is using a 4x4 14-tonne Isuzu FTS 800 as a mobile breast-screening clinic in remote parts of the Northern Territory.

To boost breast screening participation in remote communities, BreastScreenNT needed to deliver the service directly.

The result is the BreastScreenNT Bus, which travels some of the country’s roughest terrain to deliver a free service.

The FTS 800 is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment including mammography machine and satellite dish, to enable instant transmission of digital images to Darwin.

Women living in remote areas can sometimes be thousands of kilometres from medical facilities offering such a service.

NT Cancer Screen Services manager Karen Forster says the health department received $1.2 million in Federal Government funds to develop the bus.

"Many of these women simply don’t participate in breast-screening because it’s impossible for them to travel such long distances," Forster says.

"Although, statistically, Indigenous women have a lower chance of developing breast cancer, there are higher instances of late diagnosis."

Forster says the procurement team had experience with Isuzu and knew the truck was reliable.

Amongst other features the BreastScreenNT unit has a 176kW (240hp) engine with 706Nm of torque; 6-speed Allison automatic transmission; full-time four-wheel-drive with centre diff lock; driver airbag with seatbelt pre-tensioner; ISRI 6860 seat with integrated seatbelt; and standard cruise control.

Queensland-based company Mills-Tui fitted out the truck.

Design Drafter Isaac Goodman says the vehicle was designed using a fully framed body, built from galvanised steel tube.

"A curved roof was installed to maximise water run-off during the wet season and to help create roof voids for running air-conditioning pipes, ducts and electrical wiring," Goodman says.

"The air-conditioning system was sized to provide adequate cooling, which was a critical feature to protect the delicate equipment."

Because of the humid environment, no wood products were used. The floor, walls and ceiling of the interior were paneled with composite aluminum sheeting, normally used for cladding exterior buildings.

Mills Tui says it wanted the interior cabinetry to resemble any land-based clinic. The final product comprises reception room and breast-screen clinic room.

The truck was fitted with a roof-mounted satellite dish, underbody storage lockers, sliding glass entry door, automatic awning, and internal and external sink.

Included in the fit-out are a 9kV Durapower generator, hot-water system, dimmable L.E.D interior lighting and automatic folding entry stairs.

There are also modern conveniences such as iPod, intercom and speaker systems, while a touchscreen can activate the levelling legs, the side awning and lighting systems.

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