LISMORE: The practice is located in Molesworth St, Lismore , nearly opposite the Transit Center which is the transport hub for all outlying areas. While it's not quite this Google office, the clinic in Lismore is set up as a welcoming and comfortable place which reflects the practice style.
It is friendly and relaxed and the walls are hung with art that was donated by clients. There is an active book-swap desk where clients bring books when they have finished reading them to share with others. Good quality clothes, toys etc are also there for anyone who needs them. There is always an on-going 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle in the waiting area with completed ones framed on the walls - this evolved by chance and the shared ownership of putting them back together has been a spontaneous social activity. There is a sense of community and ownership in the clinic.
It is welcoming and non-threatening to new clients and those who just want information. It's a nice place to work...
BRISBANE: Queensland Progressive Health is a friendly and mostly quiet dosing clinic in Stones Corner. This is a one-stop clinic where the patients I see there are also dosed in a respectful, professional environment. Patients there benefit from the close relationship between myself and the dosing pharmacists which means we can be very responsive to changes in your dosing requirements for work and travel. Appointments in Brisbane are easier to get than Lismore and we will try and fit you in as soon as possible after you first make contact
HOW: Rx is the international symbol for prescribing. The core task in this practice is prescribing legal and clean opioids to people who are using illegal, dangerous, criminalised opioids of unknown origin or purity. Just by doing that, a cascade of positive effects occur and this is the starting point for growth and stability. At its core, these positive changes occur as a result of the swap to safer, prescribed opioids. Deriding opioid substitution therapy as just replacing one drug for another is like telling a cardiac transplant surgeon he is just swapping one heart for another so why bother.......
WHAT: The clinic provides:
- easy access for new clients, no blood tests, no urine tests, no commitment
- hepatitis C treatment
- Centrelink paperwork completed
- Mental health Care Plan prepared and referral made to psychologist
- Chronic medical condition extended care plan allows patients access to physiotherapy, further counselling, dietician and osteopath
- Treatment of depressions, anxiety, PTSD and full mental health reviews.
- referrals to specialists
- State Debt reduction ($1000 per month)
- simple reports prepared for court (existing patients only)
- good networks with other services such as Community Corrections.
- Baclofen treatment for alcohol dependency
All patients get 20+ minute appointments and a 45 minute first appointment. All consultations are directly billed to Medicare (bulk billed)
I have a maximum patient allocation of 200. This is a limit set by the Department of Health to ensure that community doctors are able to closely monitor people on the program. From time to time I stop taking new appointments because of this limit unfortuneately
The clinic is designed to attract and welcome people into treatment, it is my job to retain those people on the program. Because of it's mental health benefits Opioid substitution therapy is mostly long term maintenance so the program needs to be flexible, sustainable and liveable.
On a recent anonymous survey of 100 patients, the clinic has a 9.6/10 satisfaction rating on a range of 8 variables.
The core principle of my practice is my unwavering commitment to the concepts of respect and dignity and adherence to the fundamentals of harm reduction. This is a reality-based approach that is ruthlessly non-judgemental, practical and actually works in the real world. Opioid dependent people receive little compassion...when they find themselves respected and cared about then they thrive – just like everyone else.