Funding for the Freo Street doctor under threat

Funding for the Freo Street doctor under threat

The Barnett Liberals must continue funding for the Freo Street Doctor, a mobile street medical facility that is accessed by the homeless and at risk clients.

The service has been operating since 2002, and currently runs eight clinics a week in Fremantle and Cockburn communities. Last year the mobile medical facility saw 1,400 clients.

The service providers of the Freo Street Doctor have been told that funding for the service will run out at the end of this financial year.

After WA Labor raised the issue with media, Health Minister Kim Hames has now claimed that the service will go out to tender after June 30, but has not guaranteed any funding support beyond the 2017 election.

“This is a mean-spirited government that is hurting our State’s most vulnerable,” State Labor MP for Fremantle Simone McGurk said.

“After seven years of shocking financial management, the Barnett Government is now cutting funding to essential services to try and fix its balance sheet.”

The Freo Street Doctor is staffed by a General Practitioner, registered nurse and outreach worker. It is the primary source of health care for 88 per cent of clients. Clients that access the Freo Street Doctor often do not have a regular GP and use the Freo Street Doctor as their usual GP.

The State Government provided $467,000 of funding through the South Metropolitan Health service, and community support and donations help supplement this funding.

“This is a crucial service for the homeless community in and around the Fremantle area. Like the Government’s cuts to financial counsellors, this a short-sighted decision.

“WA Labor will continue to fight to ensure the funds remain so that this crucial service can continue to be provided for the most vulnerable West Australians,” Ms McGurk said.