Health Check Clinic

A free health check clinic can save a life in a rural or remote community

Rural Doctors Foundation free health checks are an important way for rural and remote people in Queensland to connect with a health professional. Our pop-up mobile health check clinic is available for rural events. Importantly, giving those who don’t see a doctor regularly a chance for a check-up. We examine key risk factors and provide important information to people who have health concerns.

Why they’re needed

Rural and remote people experience distance every day. It’s a long way to anywhere in rural Australia. Sometimes hours if you’re living in a remote area. But it’s not only the distance in kilometres that hurts. It’s the gap that exists in access to skilled clinicians, equipment, and good programs.

Statistics show that rural and remote mortality rates are 1.8 times higher than in metropolitan areas.

3 in 5 rural and remote people don’t see a specialist when it’s required, because there isn’t one close by.

Overall, people living in rural and remote areas have lower life expectancy and greater chance of disease.

Why they’re needed

Rural and remote people experience distance every day. It’s a long way to anywhere in rural Australia. Sometimes hours if you’re living in a remote area. But it’s not only the distance in kilometres that hurts. It’s the gap that exists in access to skilled clinicians, equipment, and good programs.

Statistics show that rural and remote mortality rates are 1.8 times higher than in metropolitan areas.

3 in 5 rural and remote people don’t see a specialist when it’s required, because there isn’t one close by.

Overall, people living in rural and remote areas have lower life expectancy and greater chance of disease.

“A significant proportion of those attending the free health clinic at BEEF had not seen a doctor for five years.”

– Dan Halliday, Chair.

How they work

We set up our health check clinic so that anyone can pop into our stall at rural events to have a free check-up around their current health status. We check for diabetes, chronic disease, and cardiovascular risk. As well as chat with patients about their general wellbeing. We give patients a written health assessment. And, where necessary, we encourage them to seek further medical advice to improve their health outcomes. Often checks highlight important health concerns which require further investigation by the patient’s general practitioner.

Volunteers conduct the health check clinic. In the past, we have had great success with recruiting medical students from the University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (UQRCS). As well as James Cook University (JCU) Rural Generalist Program. This is a great chance for students to work with rural people in practice. It also encourages more practitioners in our rural and remote communities. All checks are overseen by a practicing Clinician.

Our vision

It is our hope that we can run this much-needed pop-up Health Check Clinic across all of rural and remote Queensland. We know they work to help reduce risk of disease and improve health outcomes for rural and remote people.

a free health check clinic is…

  • Helpful for anyone who has a concern for their health, or just wants to check in about whether they’re doing okay.

  • Catching people who would otherwise not have seen a doctor. A free health check clinic can find health issues that could otherwise have led to disease or death.

  • An opportunity for anyone to get a second opinion on their health status.

  • A face-to-face opportunity for people who want to discuss health issues, but don’t want to see their local doctor.

  • Identifying mental health as a significant concern in rural and remote communities.

  • Fuelling enthusiasm for rural health for new and emerging rural generalist practitioners.

  • Helping emerging clinicians get real world experience and understand more about the health issues facing rural and remote people.

  • Saving lives. And that’s why our volunteers are eager to continue this important work at throughout Queensland.

Work with us to get a free health check clinic to your rural event

If you think your rural event could benefit from this life saving service, reach out to us. We would be eager to discuss how we can roll out this program in your region.

Free health checks can expand with the help of generous supporters.

We can reach more people at more events and have a bigger impact across the whole of rural and remote Queensland. It will mean more health data, and more lives saved. And we think that’s pretty important. If you do too, join the Rural Doctors Foundation in working to fill the gaps in healthcare that are part of life in rural and remote communities.

Case study:

BEEF Week Health Checks

In 2015, 2018 and 2021, Rural Doctors Foundation ran health check clinics at Rockhampton’s BEEF week, a cattle exhibition which attracts thousands of rural and remote Queenslanders every year.

Rural Doctors Foundation designed the health check clinic in collaboration with University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (UQRCS) and James Cook University (JCU) Generalist Medical Training Program.

We provided patrons at three BEEF Weeks with a free non-invasive health check to assess their individual health status. Each health check provided an assessment designed in line with RACGP guidelines. We provided each patient with a copy of their calculated disease risk. They were also encouraged to visit their local General Practitioner (GP) to further discuss concerns. There were a few patrons identified with major health risks who were referred directly to the hospital in Rockhampton for further testing.

In addition to providing this valuable service, the purpose of the BEEF Week Health Check Clinic was twofold. We also conducted a public health survey at this event. The findings from our important health research have provided insight into the health of rural and remote Australians and their concerns regarding their health and access to health care. It has also informed the service model for future health clinics provided by Rural Doctors Foundation.