The Bendigo & District Aboriginal Co-operative (BDAC) provides medical care for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within Dja Dja Wurrung lands but also to the wider community. It is a highly respected clinic within the local community and was awarded the 2019 Victorian GP Practice of the year by the RACGP.
The medical clinic is co-located with the other services at BDAC including an administration building and a Family and Community Services building. Approval has been gained and funding organised to co-locate an early learning centre on these grounds with building for this scheduled to start later this year.
Within the medical building the clinic is located downstairs and has five consulting rooms, one treatment room and an allied health room. Upstairs houses our mental health clinician, AOD workers, Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) workers, Dual Diagnosis worker, Bringing Them Home (Stolen Generation Reunification program), Integrated Team Care(chronic care coordination), Intake and ATAR( Aboriginal Tenants at Risk) and our HACC team.
A paediatrician visits our clinic weekly and we have visiting dental services fortnightly. We also have a podiatrist visiting fortnightly.
The clinic employs two full time general practitioners, one sessional general practitioner and a full time GP registrar. There are two clinic nurses, two Aboriginal Health Practitioners and three reception staff.
The clinic offers a wide range of services including:
-patient educational materials;
-health promotion; reminder systems;
-transport driver and car to transport our patients to and from medical appointments;
-Integrated Team Care (ITC) who help fund eligible patients to access either specialist or allied health services required to maintain optimal health and also assist with transport to appointments;
-Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) workers who act as social workers and meet patients within the community and encourage them to attend the clinic or relay any concerns within the community to clinic staff as required so patients can be optimally treated;
-housing services and working with tenants at risk; intake services when they first attend clinic where patients are assessed holistically and in addition to medical needs are referred for housing, food etc. to provide whole of person care.
The BDAC Men’s Shed is located on the ground of the Co-operative and patients are frequently referred there to help them link in with other men and their culture and there is also a Women’s group run on site to support women in the community run by one of the SEWB workers and there is now a Men’s Violent offenders program to try and support and rehabilitate men who have committed spousal abuse change their problematic behaviours.
All doctors working at BDAC are training in culturally safe and appropriate care practices to ensure that they can meet the needs of the community. The standard appointment at the clinic is 20 minutes and this is often extended for complex consultation, Aboriginal Health Assessments or GP Mental Health Care Plans. Patients often see the GP and then an Aboriginal Health Practitioner to ensure that they are linked in with the appropriate services both within the clinic and within the rest of the Co-operative.
The GPs provide antenatal shared care services, contraceptive counselling including Implanon insertion, medical termination of pregnancy services, opioid substitution therapy, Hepatitis C DAA prescriptions, chronic disease management and provide complete wrap around and holistic care for patients. Most of the patients at BDAC are wary of external referrals/services and would prefer to be managed within the clinic and thus we try and accommodate patients as much as possible by providing the relevant service within the clinic.