Chat with PAT: mobile health clinic expands – Canberra Weekly

PAT outreach service
Directions Health CEO Bronwyn Hendry at the launch of PAT in Veterans Park with GPs Dr Andrew Palfreman and Dr Ben Harkness, Practice Nurse Coordinator Ali Loom, and Directions Health Services Board Treasurer, Peter Norton. Photo: supplied.

A weekly mobile outreach clinic in the city, dubbed PAT, is set to provide free medical and counselling services to vulnerable Canberrans in the inner-City.  

Directions Health Services has expanded the PAT (pathways to assistance and treatment) service to five days a week after securing government funding and will now operate across five locations, including in Veterans Park in the City on Fridays.

“Through this service, people will be able to access care for their primary and mental health and tackle the impacts of drug and alcohol dependency in a safe space,” said Directions CEO, Bronwyn Hendry.

“They don’t have to try and get a doctors’ appointment or wait until they are so unwell they need a hospital.”

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith launched the Veterans Park service on Friday and said the service would improve the physical and mental health of vulnerable Canberrans.

“The mobile clinic takes a wraparound approach, providing an array of supports including mental health, alcohol and other drug services (AOD), social support, case management and GP services.”

PAT will be staffed by a GP, nurse, mental health practitioner and AOD practitioner.

PAT began late last year as an extension of the outreach services Directions was providing in Ainslie and Oaks Estate.

“The real driver behind us striving to secure PAT was to provide care to people in need, including people experiencing homelessness and other Canberrans whose access to primary care is severely limited,” Ms Hendry said.

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