Street Doctor ‘will continue’

Freo Street Doctor’s Jim Codde.
Freo Street Doctor’s Jim Codde.

The statement follows a press conference at St Patrick’s Community Support Centre last Tuesday where Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk and opposition health spokesman Roger Cook announced that Freo Street Doctor staff had recently been told their service might not be funded past June 30.

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 Morton said the claims were “extraordinary.

“The provision of free street health services in Fremantle is not under threat, full stop,” she said. “Our long-term commitment continues.

“The service is fully funded until June 30, and funding will continue, but while we are totally committed to delivering the best services, we also have a responsibility to deliver the best value for WA taxpayers, so the service will go to tender.”

Ms McGurk said at the conference that 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. “There needs to be funding certainty.”

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

He said the favoured outcome would be more continuity, where they weren’t wondering how they would get funding.

“The initial correspondence we had was that funding for the current financial year at the end of June 30 would be the end point of Street Doctor funding and that there was no indication at that point in time that there would be future funding,” he said.

“I am delighted to hear there is a new tender going out.”