HEALTH JUSTICE: Rick Palmer and Michael Bishop.
HEALTH JUSTICE: Rick Palmer and Michael Bishop.

Emerald clinic combines health and legal support

A COMBINATION of a health and a legal service promises to supply social benefits to Emerald.

The joint venture, between CQ Community Legal Centre and Central Highlands Healthcare, aims to provide free legal advice to patients of the Emerald Medical Clinic.

The official launch of the Central Highlands Health Justice Partnership was held at the Emerald Medical Centre on Wednesday, though the service has been available since November last year.

The partnership means that those who see doctors about their health and have an associated legal problem to discuss will be referred directly to a Legal Aid solicitor for consultation.

Solicitor Kasey Wilson speaks about the benefits of the partnership.
Solicitor Kasey Wilson speaks about the benefits of the partnership.

Solicitor Kasey Wilson said people often felt more comfortable speaking with a doctor than a lawyer, giving as an example a person suffering from poor mental health or domestic violence.

“It’s an alternative pathway for people who wouldn’t ordinarily contact a lawyer,” she said.

“A lot of people wouldn’t ordinarily reach out to a lawyer for a lot of reasons because it just sounds too hard. When people come to see a doctor it’s less intimidating.

“It’s about being approachable and accessible for everybody.”

CEO of Central Highlands Healthcare Michael Bishop said the GP Super Clinic could now help alleviate social, not just health-related, grievances.

“People come up a very long way to access their health care here,” he said.

“[Emerald’s] going to become an increasingly difficult place for the vulnerable and people experiencing financial difficulties.

“When you combine a business footing with a social value, social justice, social innovation model, that’s what you get with Central Highlands Healthcare.”


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