Freo Street Doctor making a difference to disadvantaged in the community


Sarah Tadier (Black Swan Health) and Judy Hogue (outreach worker) with a client. Picture: Martin Kennealey d482165
Sarah Tadier (Black Swan Health) and Judy Hogue (outreach worker) with a client. Picture: Martin Kennealey d482165

FOR many in the community accessing doctor services is impossible.

Freo Street Doctor is a mobile General Practice (GP) service, which provides care to many in the community experiencing disadvantage including rough sleepers and those who are homeless.

The service runs in Fremantle, Cockburn, Willagee, Mandurah and Kwinana.

Freo Street Doctor operations executive Sarah Tadiersaid in its 14 years 36 per cent of clients were rough sleepers or homeless.

“Many of our clients struggle to engage in mainstream medical services so we make it accessible for people to get to,” she said.

“Clients don’t have to worry about covering a gap, the services is all covered.

“There is a no judgement policy, everyone is welcome to take part in the service and we try to make it safe and culturally appropriate.

“We also connect clients with outreach workers to link them with other services in the community.”

The program run by Black Swan Health receives funding from a variety of sources including government, community grants and donations.

Ms Tadier said the real difference is that the service is delivered on the back of a truck.

“Everyday we hear stories of people coming to the van and it making a real difference to their lives,” she said.

“A few days ago we had a client come in with chest pains and we were able to give a scan.

“We treat people who are unwell and provide preventative health care.

“It is the small things that make it significant, one time a client who has had a life of disadvantage was going to hospital for a surgery and we gave her a hand made blanket which was given as a donation.

“She took time out of her life to write to us a thank you note for the support we gave her.

“We hope to keep the service running and expand it to wherever people need it.”

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