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Mobile health clinic takes out award for innovation

A mobile health clinic providing access to health care and social services for homeless people has been recognised for its success, taking out the Primary Care Innovation Award at the annual PHN Awards.

Health on The Streets (HoTS) is a mobile health clinic providing access to health care and social services for homeless people and rough sleepers on the Central Coast. Coordinated by Coast and Country Primary Care, the HoTS primary care model is Nurse-led with outreach support, including and Aboriginal outreach worker delivering regular clinics and direct on-the-street care.

Since 2020 the program has diverted non-urgent cases from hospitals, reduced emergency hospital admissions, reduced the transmission of bloodborne diseases and sexually transmitted infections through education and treatment. The service has also improved health care and the general state of physical and mental health of the homeless population on the Central Coast.

The Registered Nurse offers comprehensive Health Assessments that covers the primary health, mental health, public and sexual health, drug and alcohol use, and social circumstances of clients. Referrals to HoTS educates and supports clients and strongly encourages their input into all decisions.

Services include chronic disease screening, pathology collection, vaccine education, wound care, dental assessments, mental health referrals, harm reduction education, and screening and treatment for sexually transmitted and bloodborne diseases.

The outreach team has also improved opportunities for homeless and rough sleepers to access appropriate services, such as accommodation, social security, and rehabilitation services.

The HoTS model is based on the Primary Health Care Principles of accessibility, public participation, health promotion, appropriate technology and intersectoral collaboration. It provides timely and culturally sensitive health care and social supports to a vulnerable population and ultimately cost savings to society.

The award was presented to Coast and Country Primary Care at the PHNs Primary Care Quality and Innovation Awards on 24 June at a gala event in Newcastle.

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