Mobile medical clinic launches in Victoria to provide healthcare for underprivileged

The Doctors of the World launched their second Canadian mobile health clinic in Victoria today.

The clinic will provide primary health care to underprivileged people in the Greater Victoria area, including routine testing, contraception, STI treatment, harm reduction services, and mental health care and counselling services.

Mobile clinic coordinator Maude Blanchette Lamothe said they will provide primary health care services to people who might otherwise not have access.

“Basically we’re trying to outreach people who don’t have access to the health care system,” Blanchette Lamothe said. “Or don’t want to go to the healthcare system because of their lifestyle or a bad experience that they have had.”

The first mobile health clinic launched in Montreal, and they have served over 7,500 patients.

Victoria mayor Lisa Helps said she's happy Victoria got chosen as the second Canadian city to receive this service.

“I like being first, but sometimes it’s even better to be second,” Helps said. “We’ve seen this model proven out in Montreal. We know how it works, we know that it has success, and I am so proud and so honoured that Victoria was chosen as the second site.”

Helps said this clinic will address one sad fact about living on the street.

“Those who live on our streets have a lower life expectancy than those of us who live in homes, just because they live on the street, and that is not okay,” Helps said. “This program will help to address that very fact in a very profound way.”

The clinic is sponsored by Telus, and the executive vice-president of Telus Health, Josh Blair, said when choosing a second city to launch this program, Victoria seemed like a good choice.

“We did a needs assessment across the country of cities that have a population that would really benefit from our mobile health clinic and Victoria popped out near the top of the list,” Blair said. “It’s also a community that is very important to us as Telus, so putting those two factors together it was a great place to bring the mobile health clinic.”

Blair said they plan to build a record of the people who come to see them so it can be used by the mainstream health care system.

“Through our electronic medical record technology the nurses and doctors can start to create a medical record for homeless citizens,” Blair said. “They can track their allergies, their medications, different treatments that have been provided. Once you have a medical history for someone you can reintegrate that individual and their health record back into the health system.”

The clinic has been operating in the Victoria area for two months, and Blanchette Lamot said they've seen over 400 people so far.

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