Two recently published research studies have found that Black Swan Health’s Freo Street Doctor is critically important in providing essential health care to disadvantaged people, such as those who are homeless or otherwise disconnected from mainstream medical services. Black Swan Health’s Freo Street Doctor is a mobile medical clinic delivering primary health care services in Fremantle and surrounding areas.
The studies reviewed de-identified medical records of 4285 Black Swan Health patients over a 10-year period and included face-to-face interviews with patients. The collaborative research between the University of Notre Dame and University of Western Australia identified patterns and severity of health conditions affecting disadvantaged patients attending Black Swan Health’s Freo Street Doctor.
According to Terina Grace, CEO and Managing Director of Black Swan Health, “the data demonstrates the unique reach of the Freo Street Doctor service for individuals who are not able or willing to use mainstream medical facilities. For instance, our records show that Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander clients account for 38% of appointments at the Freo Street Doctor, compared to less than 2% reported at mainstream practices. 36% of all medical consultations are provided to people who are homeless or in short-term temporary accommodation.”
The research showed that patients seeking health care from Freo Street Doctor are living with an increasing number, and severity, of co-existing chronic conditions; more than 50% of patients meet the criteria for multimorbid conditions. Medical treatment offered by Freo Street Doctor can significantly improve the management of such conditions, and ultimately enhances the health and wellbeing of each person.
Sarah Tadier, Black Swan Health Operations Executive emphasised “the study confirms the need for Freo Street Doctor’s friendly, flexible and accessible service model, particularly in the treatment of acute and multimorbid conditions. Freo Street Doctor ensures everyone in the community, including those people experiencing extreme disadvantage, have easy access to high quality healthcare.”
“We are pleased that these important studies have confirmed the importance of our mobile medical service” said A/Prof Alistair Vickery, Chair of Black Swan Health and a General Practitioner. “Our doctors do work hard, providing fantastic healthcare to those most in need from our medical clinic on wheels. I am immensely proud of the important health service and benefits offered by the Freo Street Doctor which has been operating for more than 14 years.”
Black Swan Health is committed to maximising the reach and impact of its vital services, and has expanded its number of weekly Freo Street Doctor clinics by 72% since October 2017. Freo Street Doctor now offers 19 weekly clinics in Fremantle, Cockburn, Melville, Rockingham, Mandurah and Kwinana and continues to grow to meet demands of its unique patient population.
Freo Street Doctor’s core government funding will soon be discontinued, and community support and donations could greatly assist the expansion and maintenance of this important service. You can support the Freo Street Doctor by donating today: https://www.blackswanhealth.com.au/donate-now/.