Vulnerable community members who can’t find or afford a general practitioner can now access one for free thanks to Health With Dignity, a new project initiated by City of Hobart Council’s Housing With Dignity Reference Group, in partnership with the Salvation Army.
Council says Health With Dignity is for people in extreme need, aiming to support those exiting incarceration, living with homelessness, part of an existing support program or those going through hardships or a domestic crisis.
Under the new initiative, the Salvation Army will book an appointment that suits the community member and even accompany them to the GP, helping to ensure the visit is a success for all involved, with the bill to be picked up by the Health With Dignity fund.
“Health With Dignity assists the most vulnerable in our community, and there is no more worthy cause than that,” said Hobart Housing and Homelessness Portfolio Chair, Councillor Mike Dutta.
“Access to medical help is something that many of us can take for granted, but to be denied such assistance in a time of need due to costs or other factors would be extremely detrimental, both physically and mentally.”
Salvation Army Homelessness and Housing state manager, Ben Moroney said Health With Dignity would cover the cost of three 30-minute GP consultations per person.
“The Salvation Army extends its thanks to Hobart Airport and the City of Hobart for initiating this project and for their support, which enables us to manage the Health With Dignity project,” Mr Moroney said.
“The project is managed by our Salvo’s Homelessness team. It is a simple but effective way to support vulnerable people in the Hobart community to access essential medical care, which they would otherwise likely go without.”
The Council and Hobart Airport have both contributed $15,000 to cover the program.
Cr Dutta said Council was well aware why such a program was so urgently required.
“The housing crisis in Hobart is an issue we must all work together on and it is uplifting to see the City working with the Salvation Army and the Hobart Airport to provide such a valuable program.”
“The contribution from the City towards this program is worth so much more than the dollars allocated,” he said.