A mobile health service has been set up in Canberra's city centre to target those people who generally "fall through the cracks" of the ACT's health system.
The purpose-built Pathways to Assistance and Treatment Service van, dubbed "PAT", will be parked at Veterans Park off Northbourne Avenue every Friday to target Canberra's most vulnerable, including homeless people.
General practitioner Andrew Palfreman was among those manning the service, and said it would provide everything from wound care and flu vaccinations to drug and alcohol intervention and treatment.
"We really are catering here to the people who generally fall through the cracks," Dr Palfreman said.
"I work in private practice as well ... and being in that mainstream general practice environment makes you realise the system really does have some marked failures.
"These people would not otherwise be able to access mainstream services, so we're here to help pick them up and get them back on their feet. Hopefully, in the long term, they'll then be able to re-engage with society."
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith officially launched the PAT city site on Friday.
She said Directions Health Services, which operated the PAT outreach service, came to the ACT government seeking funding for the van to visit the new site, to expand on its existing network.
"The fact [is] that our most vulnerable, disadvantaged Canberrans face multiple barriers to accessing health services," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"It's not only cost, and we know that GP bulk-bill services are extremely rare in this part of Canberra, but it is trust [and] it is disconnection from their healthcare system more broadly.
"The amazing thing that this service delivers is multidisciplinary care with people who are absolutely non-judgemental and come to people where they're at."
Directions Health Services' treasurer Peter Norton said the PAT city service was the culmination of years of work.
"The service now truly outreaches to where the people actually are, unlinked to a particular location," he said.
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