Grant for CP@clinic

A program helping vulnerable rural patients access health support through paramedics has received federal funding

A ground-breaking program helping vulnerable rural patients access health support through paramedics has received a $1.4 million ‘Innovative Models of Care’ grant from the Australian Federal Government.

CP@clinic is a collaborative project between the La Trobe Rural Health School, McMaster University in Canada and Sunraysia Community Health Services.

The program employs paramedics to work in non-urgent roles – making health assessments and taking blood pressure – at community wellbeing clinics in Mildura, Wodonga, Shepparton and Kerang.

The result: CP@clinic reaches vulnerable populations who have limited access to health care, creating better health outcomes and easing the strain on hospitals.

CP@clinic was originally developed by Professor Gina Agarwal (McMaster University), where it was embedded in Canada’s social housing districts.

In Australia, Professor Evelien Spelten (La Trobe Rural Health School) followed the success of the project and believed it could help alleviate our rural health crisis.

She pitched the concept to the Sunraysia Community Health Service, where it launched in Mildura in 2022, making it the first organisation to implement the program with McMaster University outside of Canada.

The CP@clinic now operates in four regional locations experiencing workforce shortages, poor access to healthcare and poorer outcomes than the national average.

The Federal Government funding will enable a complete evaluation the program and its impact on hospital admissions. La Trobe’s Violet Vines Marshman Centre for Rural Health Research will lead this research.

Professor Spelten said results from an initial feasibility study are promising, and bode well for a further rollout of the model across rural Australia.

“The early indications are very encouraging, suggesting it will mirror the Canadian experience, with significant reductions in the use of emergency services, and improved chronic disease management,” Professor Spelten said.

“Everyone who has used the service thought it was amazing.”

Read more here.

Photo courtesy of Sunraysia Community Health Services.