Bulk-billing medical clinic a winsome idea for disadvantaged
DISADVANTAGED members of the community now have access to bulk-billed medical checkups at the Winsome Hotel in Lismore.
The Winsome and Lismore Soup Kitchen officially launch its medical outreach program tonight in what used to be their restaurant but is now a newly renovated doctor's office.
Centre manager Paul Murphy said the program, which has been on trial for the past month, has seen an average of eight patients at every clinic.
"It has all come together," Mr Murphy said.
"Not only is that space now being used for the medical clinic on Wednesday, we will have a mental health nurse coming in on Thursday each fortnight and we're looking at another service provider coming on the Friday.
"And it won't be long before we've got something on Monday and Tuesday."
Each Wednesday morning a doctor from the Goonellabah Medical Centre and a temporary receptionist from North Coast Primary Health Network come in to see patients.
"The volunteers of the soup kitchen are being trained to run the book work in the reception area ... that role is currently being fulfilled by someone from North Coast Primary Health Network," Mr Murphy said.
A welcoming environment
He said the clinic would provide disadvantaged adults with the medical services they need in a welcoming environment.
"Homeless people loathe to go into a doctor's waiting rooms because they fear they may be smelly and they may feel embarrassed," Mr Murphy said.
"It also builds up their self-esteem knowing they can have a facility as good as a GP."
The Winsome Hotel have also officially opened their new kitchen today.
"Last year we were fortunate enough to get the first one of major grants from the Northern Rivers Community Foundation ... to upgrade our kitchen facilities," Mr Murphy said.
"We've got a new floor, some painting was done, some new stainless steel.
"We've been able to bring up the standard of the kitchen facilities."
The soup kitchen serves lunch daily at 11.30am to roughly 60-80 disadvantaged men and women.