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New Kingston mobile clinic targets most vulnerable residents

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A new mobile clinic in Kingston hopes to help the city’s most vulnerable.

The Portable Outreach Care Hub, or Porch, has been set up in a RV. It was created in a joint partnership between Kingston Community Health Centre and the United Way, through provincial and federal funding. 

United Way President Bhavana Varma says it’s a roving clinic for those who are most vulnerable.

“It is designed so that we can actually go where people are at,” she explains. “People who are unhoused, people who need help, it could be in the rural areas, it could be within Kingston itself.”

Different sections of the vehicle are set aside for different needs, like an area for group and private counselling and mental health support. A clinical bed in the back provides the space for a private consultation with a nurse. 

Varma says it’s so people can get access to a wide-range of services at once.

“It’s not just one agency that can help people,” she says. “They need a multitude of services offered to them including health care, including counselling, including education and awareness.”

This comes as some hospital services in the city are facing staffing shortages and limiting patients to help relieve pressure at Urgent Care.

Meghan O’Leary, the Kingston Community Health Centres director of clinical services, says this mobile clinic will help with smaller injuries, sexual health care and education, which hopes to ease the burden on emergency rooms in the long term. 

“Engaging folks in the community and providing care where they’re at, hopefully it will reduce the need for urgent emergency visit so they can have preventative access to care,” she explains.

O’Leary says it cost $130,000 to set up the mobile clinic. By having it visit areas like Sharbot Lake and Verona, it avoids the need for a permanent clinic, which can be more expensive to build and staff, she explains. 

“The efficiency comes in having this mobile unit that we can outfit with a counselling space and a exam space and be able to visit various locations where these are needed instead of setting up physical infrastructure at various areas across the region,” she said.

The RV has already been used in one clinic, says O’Leary, and plans are in the works to have a set schedule soon for walk-in visits.

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