Homeless and disadvantaged people in Cairns have been offered a new sense of hope and health with the Wheels of Wellness (WOW) program, a mobile outreach clinic which treats patients anywhere in the community.
Stratford Medical Centre established the WOW outreach service in partnership with Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) as a way of bringing patient-centred medical care to patients who can often feel uncomfortable or are not able to receive treatment in a conventional clinical setting.
The driving force of compassion behind the service is Dr Amanda Roberts, one of Stratford Medical Centre’s dedicated general practitioners.
Dr Roberts has a special interest in emergency medicine, community services, mental health, acute illness, and business and community services. She is passionate when it comes to improving the health outcomes of the whole community, focusing on addressing the current lack of accessibility of health services by marginalised individuals in the Cairns region.
“Patients who would not normally have the opportunity to do so are now able to access not only GPs and nurses, but also allied health professionals,” said Dr Roberts.
“The WOW mobile clinic gives us the capability to go out onto the street and provide much needed care wherever the patients may be.
“Given the complexity of care required for most of our patients, it is important that they have this support to ensure follow-up requests such as pathology, X-rays, or further appointments with allied health professionals are attended.
“These clinics give those who are going through a particularly rough and confronting time in their lives the opportunity to seek quality health care while being treated with respect and dignity.”
For the past year, Dr Roberts and her team have been working tirelessly alongside NQPHN towards opening a Cairns CBD-based clinic to support the WOW outreach service.
The aim of the new clinic will be to have a base location for WOW where people can visit upon appointment and feel genuinely comfortable in seeking medical advice.
“Stratford Medical Centre and the WOW program are committed to working collaboratively with homelessness hubs, service providers, and not-forprofit organisations to extend medical care to those who need it most,” said Dr Roberts.
“Many medical and administrative staff involved in this project have been encouraged by responses from service providers, who truly appreciate that there is someone out there caring for their clients and improving life outcomes for the disadvantaged.”
The new CBD clinic is dedicated to delivering regular weekly GP and nurse clinic sessions, as well as providing a pathway to allied health services.