As a long-time resident of Goldfields region, I am passionate about the Kalgoorlie-Boulder community and I firmly believe that living regionally shouldn’t mean your healthcare is disadvantaged.
I am 110 per cent ‘country’, and that’s at the heart of every decision our team makes at the Golfields Women’s Health Care Centre, particularly in identifying and filling gaps in service provision for vulnerable women in the region.
A couple of years ago, WA Country Health Service provided us with the Well Women’s Clinic, which supported about 1,100 women in the region with free women’s health checks, such as cervical smears and STI tests.
The service was primarily staffed with registered nurses and other health workers; however, some recent changes meant a GP needed to be onsite for certain services. Unfortunately, we couldn’t always meet that requirement and had to cease some of the services, so we were turning away up to 20 women a day.
That had huge implications for the health of vulnerable women in the region. So, with our Board's backing, we quickly looked for innovative opportunities to get back up and running.
Our local member had heard about Rural Health West’s outreach programs, which provide visiting health services across rural and remote WA to improve access to healthcare for rural communities.
The Rural Health West team was a godsend. We were able to secure funding, identify a doctor willing to come provide the service and we had a bunch of clinics booked – it was all systems go and then the pandemic happened.
Had it not been for COVID-19, we would have been up and running months ago. We waited out the restrictions and are now pleased to report the Centre’s first GP clinic was successfully held in August by Dr Jenny Sudbury.
We booked out the day in 30 minutes; it just goes to show how in need we are of those services. Dr Sudbury is involved with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and has such a wealth of knowledge and really understands rural and remote patients; we are excited to have her here.
With the restart of the GP clinics, women can now receive the healthcare and support they needed.
Our point of difference is that women feel safe, comfortable and tend to open up more when they are speaking to other women, particularly when they are talking about women’s issues. That’s when you’re at your most vulnerable.
The consultation is 30 minutes, giving women the time and opportunity to discuss more than just their clinical issue. The GP can refer them to a social worker, a mental health worker or whatever other service is required.
We’d like to see the female GP clinics run more regularly at the Centre with more and more healthcare workers embracing rural and remote areas. The opportunity is there so go for it, you’d be surprised what these communities offer. You will experience the most amazing community spirit and make long-term relationships.
The Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre offers a diverse range of women’s health services including counselling, clinics and GP clinics.