21 February 2013

The University of Queensland’s new Indigenous Health Mobile Training Unit aims to service Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities outside the Toowoomba area.

The 10m-long mobile clinic debuted at the USQ Indigenous Connections Expo in Toowoomba on Thursday 21 February.

UQ School of Medicine Indigenous Health Director Dr Maree Toombs said the clinic would train UQ medical students in indigenous health and provide a medical outreach clinic for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“The clinic will focus on providing culturally safe, primary health care with a holistic approach to early detection and prevention.” Dr Toombs said.

“One goal is to improve chronic disease management by addressing barriers to accessing primary health care from Indigenous communities.”

“While our principal aim is to assess, evaluate and provide on-going primary care for local patients, as well as educate indigenous families in healthy lifestyle choices, we have a secondary aim to collect primary health care service delivery data,” she said.

A GP, Registered Nurse and primary health workers will staff the clinic in conjunction with local Aboriginal Medical Service provider Carbal Medical Services.

This team will also facilitate training of UQ’s Rural third and fourth year medical students.

The clinic is expected to operate four days a week, spending two days at each of two outlying areas.

The clinic encompasses one GP room, a RN room and a small kitchenette area, and a fully enclosed annexe will provide a weather-proof waiting area.

An indigenous design covers the clinic to encourage attendance and treatment access by community members.

This project was awarded $331,000 from Health Workforce Australia as an Australian Government initiative to increase the number of UQ’s clinical training placements in the area of indigenous health and to expand the clinical training capacity of Australia’s health system.

Dr Toombs said the initiative created an opportunity to deliver beyond the grant proposal.

Media: Kim Besley Scott, Project Officer, School of Medicine Rural Clinical School, +61 7 4631 1859 k.besleyscott@uq.edu.au or Brian Mallon, Communication Officer School of Medicine, 0403621109/07 3365 5254 b.mallon@uq.edu.au