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Free health checks for Bourke children

Speech Pathologist Jess Little with Rachael and Brodie Cross. Photo Layton Holley

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Bourke played host to the Royal Far West Children’s Health Countrywide team.

Setting up base at the Bourke and District Children’s Services preschool, a team of five including a speech pathologist and an occupational therapist from Royal Far West screened children aged 3-5 as part of the Royal Far West ‘Clinicians in Community’ program.

The crew flew into Dubbo from their Manly base, and made the journey to Bourke by car, all except Tom Heal, the transport and logistics manager, who drove the truck which houses the treatment areas, audiology booths and everything that is required for the clinics.

For this trip, Royal Far West has partnered with Hearing Australia to provide audiologists to screen for hearing difficulties, as well as McKillop to talk about NDIS programs, and the Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service provided the team with a nurse.

Community Programs Manager, John Reid said that normally an area like Bourke would receive a visit every two years, but the Royal Far West can visit Bourke every six months due to special philanthropic funding.

“We believe there is a lack of allied health services here and so we work with the local health district or local Aboriginal Health Service in the areas we visit,” Mr Reid said.

“The program has been running for seven years across NSW, an we have found an 80 per cent referral rate for the children we see through the clinics.

“Often, we have dental services, audiometry services, dietetics, child and family health nurses, speech pathologists and occupational therapists.

“Out of all that, not every child gets referred to everything of course, we will find that of the 80 per cent there will be a need for a referral to one station or another.

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