New mobile health clinic ready to roll in Calgary’s downtown core

A new mobile health clinic is ready to hit the streets and provide healthcare to Calgarians in-need, with better access to the downtown core.

In a partnership with The Alex and the TELUS Health for Good program, a converted van has become a healthcare facility on wheels providing primary medical care, social supports and addictions management services.

It’s the fourth mobile medical clinic operated by The Alex and staff say its compact design provides even more flexibility to meet clients where they are at, on the street.

“A lot of the care that we need and a lot of the outreach that we want to provide we are just not able to meet those needs with some of our bigger fleet vehicles,” said Emma Wissink, mobile health program lead with The Alex.

Wissink said a majority of clients they serve spend time in the downtown core and that’s where this resource will focus.

The mobile health clinic will be staffed with one health care professional and one outreach worker.

The goal of the mobile health clinic is to provide healthcare in a comfortable way while reducing stigma, said CEO Joy Bowen-Eyre.

One staff member at the Alex who is in his third year of recovery after 15 years experiencing homelessness and addiction says he knows firsthand how the clinic will help.

“I walked around with these abscesses for quite a long time and they cause a lot of pain and they cause a lot of health problems, a lot of infections,” said David Fraser, a peer support worker with mobile street outreach at The Alex.

He added, “(if there had been) something like the mobile health bus, I would have accessed that.”

Fraser said there can be a barriers for vulnerable Calgarians to access primary and emergency medical care especially in the middle of a crisis.

There are an estimated 6,000 Calgarians experiencing homeless or precarious living situations, according to The Alex.

CORPORATE CHARITY

The TELUS healthcare giving program operates 22 mobile health clinics across Canada with $12 million in funds.

Officials with TELUS say the clinics have served over 100,000 vulnerable Canadians.

The van is also equipped with TELUS wifi and computer access to a medical records network.

“The mobile clinic is compact it can get to where it needs to be and we are able to equip it with the technology to keep the individuals on the clinic productive,” said Nimmi Kanji, director of community investment at TELUS responsible for the Health for Good program.

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