Freo Street Doctor Funding in Poor Health

FUNDING to one of Fremantle’s most important health services could be cut as early as June, according to Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk.

At a press conference at St Patrick’s Community Support Centre on Tuesday morning, Ms McGurk and opposition health minister Roger Cook announced that Freo Street Doctor staff had recently been told their service might not be funded past June 30.

According to Ms McGurk, the Government provided $467,000 of funding to the Street Doctor through the South Metropolitan Health Service.

The Freo Street Doctor is a mobile medical health service that provides easily accessible care to local homeless, people with drug and alcohol problems, those with mental health issues and low-income earners.

The service operates from a number of locations around Fremantle, Melville and Cockburn, including St Patrick’s, Willagee Library and Hamilton Hill’s Jean Willis Centre and is staffed with a general practitioner, registered nurse and an outreach worker.

Ms McGurk said the service was a much needed one in the area, with 1400 people accessing advice and treatment last year alone.

“This is a crucial service for the homeless community in and around the Fremantle area,” she said.

Freo Street Doctor’s Jim Codde said the clients that used the service had difficulty accessing regular medical care.

He said their favoured outcome would be more continuity, where they weren’t always wondering how they would get funding six months down the track.

“The Freo Street Doctor is a symbol,” he said.

“We believe that this service and services like it should continue.”

For more information, see next week’s Gazette.