Doctor helps restore lives of homeless

Dr Andrew Davies attending to a patient at one of his Mobile GP clinics.
Dr Andrew Davies attending to a patient at one of his Mobile GP clinics.

With a team of six doctors and four nurses, he provides medical care to patients across Perth, including visitors of Northbridge drop-in centre Ruah Community Services, Tranby Day Centre in East Perth and The Shopfront in Maylands.

He said about two-thirds of his clients had drug and alcohol problems, 50 per cent had mental health afflictions and 50 per cent suffered physical health issues.

Many endure all three as well as a history of trauma, such as sexual abuse.

‘We treat these people with a view to helping them get back into housing,’ he said.

‘It’s great to see some of them move forward and get restabilised, but you have to have a lot of patience because it takes time.’

The City of Vincent recently granted the organisation almost $6000 for the purchase of medical supplies.

The West Leederville doctor said securing funding was his biggest challenge, along with encouraging patients to use the hospital system.

‘We have people who are very willing to come in and see us but have had bad experiences in hospitals,’ Dr Davies said. ‘This means we have to be prepared to do more than we would in a normal GP practise.

‘Getting staff is also difficult as there is a shortage of doctors, which makes it even harder when dealing with fringe people.’

Dr Davies and his team spend half the week visiting clinics and the other half at the organisation’s transition centre on Angove Street.