Hepatitis Queensland's Kombi Clinic is the 2018 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards Team Excellence winner.
Kombi vans aren’t usually associated with fighting life-threatening illnesses, but the team behind The Kombi Clinic is challenging this perception. Transforming a beat-up van into a mobile medical clinic, the team is on a mission to provide life-saving treatment to people living with hepatitis C.
The innovative clinic is a one-stop-shop for hepatitis C testing, treatment, and information and is run by a team of health professionals including a nurse, dietitian and doctors from Medeco Medical Centre, Inala. Developed as a community outreach project, the clinic travels to locations around Queensland that are frequented by people in the community who are most vulnerable to infection, including homeless shelters and local alcohol and drug services.
Underpinning the clinic’s design was the realisation that people living with hepatitis C are often reluctant to get treatment due to perceived stigma and discrimination associated with the infection. Breaking down these perceptions, the Kombi Clinic team don pink flamingo shirts and offer free walk-in consultations.
At the heart of the clinic is its nurse Mary “Mim” O’Flynn, the resident Fibroscan expert. Fibroscans are an advanced new technology in the fight against hepatitis C, allowing non-invasive testing and treatment.
The fibroscan helps determine the severity of the infection, and allows for faster patient treatment. Once diagnosed patients are provided holistic treatment including blood tests, access to a doctor as well as ongoing consultation with a nurse, all free of charge to the patient.