New Indigenous health clinics commence

A group of Sydney University's top medics will travel to the New South Wales towns of Brewarrina and Bourke tomorrow (11 June) for the first of the newly established Indigenous clinics run by Sydney University's Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.

The team, which includes a cardiologist, physiotherapist, adolescent health expert and a rheumatologist, will fill gaps in the local health services and provide specialist care in areas of highest need.

Young indigenous people in Bourke and Brewarrina have a number of special needs which the current services are unable to provide. Some relate to eating disorders, chest conditions and addictions. This is their chance to be seen by a health professional who specialises in their needs.

The Poche Centre has recently been established by the University of Sydney, as a major initiative to improve the health and life expectancies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is named after businessman and philanthropist Greg Poche, who donated $10 million to the Faculty of Medicine in February this year to fund its initial operations.

Professor Bruce Robinson, the Dean of Medicine and a specialist endocrinologist, is participating in the first clinic. "It is a very exciting step," he said. "Our aim in setting up the Poche Centre was to do something very practical to improve the health of Indigenous people. We felt that increasing health care available in areas where existing services are stretched, was one thing we could do right now."

Regular clinics will be held in Bourke and Brewarrina in the future. The Poche Centre plans to expand operations to other locations in NSW, particularly to Dubbo and Broken Hill where the University operates its School of Rural Health.

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