For the past 10 years, William van Gaal has been running Northern Health’s cardiology service.

The director of cardiology started at the health service in October, 2007, when its cardiology unit was opened at Northern Hospital in Epping.

Associate Professor van Gaal said the cardiology service had accomplished a lot in the past decade – including the opening of the cardiology ward in 2016.

The ward, which includes the coronary care unit, provides access to coronary care and inpatient beds for cardiac diagnoses.

“We are dealing with a catchment of increased risk as levels of heart disease and issues with high-blood pressure are more prevalent in Melbourne’s northern suburbs,” Associate Professor van Gaal said.

“One of the most important changes to our cardiology service was the introduction of a 24-hour emergency services, meaning that people in the northern community who have a cardiac emergency have access to the best possible care close to home.

“[A] key area of focus in developing our services over the past decade has been in access – increasing capacity and capabilities to provide care to those who need it most in our community.”

Northern Health is this month celebrating 10 years of cardiology services.

Associate Professor van Gaal said it was “imperative” the cardiology team remained at the forefront of research and technology in the years ahead to continue caring for the north’s rapidly growing community.