Two former public transport buses donated by the Tasmanian Government and transformed into mobile health clinics with a $100,000 Commonwealth Government grant and funds raised by Rotary Tasmania were officially handed over to Royal Flying Doctor Service Tasmania at a launch event held at the RFDS Western Junction base on Thursday, July 30.
Graphic: Zoe Page
The buses will dramatically enhance the ability of the RFDS to embed its primary health care team in rural and remote communities, with each providing comfortable, inviting consultation spaces designed to suit clients of all ages, while delivering a variety of free health services.
RFDS staff will use the buses to provide mental health care, preventative health screening clinics, tele-health services, counselling, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation advice, nutritional and health education, with focused spaces for activity and technology use, a resource library, small kitchenette and a covered outdoor option to provide space for larger groups.
With an emphasis on increasing youth mental health support in the bush, the health hubs will also provide a safe and suitable setting for young people aged 8-16 years.
One bus has already been used as an emergency COVID-19 respiratory clinic, and being mobile, each bus can also respond in a timely manner to other extraordinary incidents affecting Tasmanian’s physical and mental health, such as in times of bushfire.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is a not-for-profit organisation that began operations nationally in 1928 with the mission of providing excellence in aeromedical and primary health care services across Australia.
Graphic: John Kirwan
“Every day we look for ways to reduce preventable hospitalisations, to fight chronic disease, to improve health outcomes and be there for those reaching out in a time of great need,” RFDS CEO John Kirwan said.
“The support of the Federal and State Governments, the drive and passion of many Rotary Club volunteers plus local business and community support has resulted in this project coming to fruition and we now have the privilege of taking the mobile health hubs to where they’re needed most.”
Rotary Tasmania Community Care chair John Dare said the launch of the mobile health hubs demonstrated an incredible collaboration where everyone involved put the health of their communities first.
“Rotary’s roots go deep and we know first-hand about the health problems experienced in country areas. We recognised immediately the impact this project would have and were on board from the first phone call from RFDS.
“Working with a terrific committee for the past year and watching so many people work together on the buses to take us up to this launch day has been absolutely magic.”
Thank you to our major sponsors Rotary Tasmania, Scott Signs, Penguin Composites, Telstra.