Street Doctor goes the extras mile

Christa Riegler, chief executive of the Freo Street Doctor Mobile Health Clinic said last week that the Willagee service was always busy each Monday from 9.30am-12.30pm, but van staff had experienced higher than normal demand as locals took advantage of simultaneous pop-up trial services.

The free services, which include a podiatry clinic and Centrelink and Department of Housing outreach staff, began a three-month trial in March at the Willagee community centre and library on Archibald Street.

A City of Melville spokeswoman said while it was too early to speak about statistics a month after the trial began, it had been well received by those who attended.

�We expect that as more people hear about the services through various networks and word of mouth, that the numbers will naturally rise each month,� she said.

�At the end of the trial we will be able to provide an update and hopefully confirm the service is extended if it is sufficiently patronised.�

The street doctor has been visiting Willagee since 2009 and is one of nine clinics across seven locations in the Cities of Fremantle, Cockburn and Melville.

�The Willagee clinic sees a higher number of families and children than our other clinics, and consequently also sees less homeless patients,� Ms Riegler said.

The two most common primary presenting conditions are cardiac and optical care, which differs from the service�s overall primary presenting conditions across all clinics, which are skin rash and mental health.

A third of patients are aged between 45-65 and 15 per cent are between 5-14, and 35 per cent are indigenous.

Willagee was chosen as a location as it was one of the lowest socio-economic suburbs in Melville.

The street doctor�s primary target groups when established in Fremantle in 2002 were homeless and at-risk populations including young people, indigenous Australians, people with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health illness, people with little or no income, and drug users.