Drive-through COVID-19 testing centre opens
CORONAVIRUS testing has now become more accessible on the Sunshine Coast as a new drive-through clinic opens its bulk billing service to the public.
Suncoast Christian Health Centre owners Shanti and Peter Herbert last week established a new clinic to provide medical attention for those with COVID-19 symptoms.
Mrs Herbert said the Suncoast Infectious Diseases Clinic, located at Lavarack Crescent in Buderim, would safely test patients from inside their vehicles.
"We can accurately diagnose a lot of respiratory conditions, not just coronavirus," she said.
"That's really important because there are so many people in the community afraid to go to a medical centre for fear of causing infection, and therefore are not having their usual health concerns met."
As with all who enter the medical field, Mrs Herbert said the Suncoast team was eager to make a difference during the alarming outbreak.
"One of the most empowering things for me, as a manager at Suncoast, was to be able to say to the staff 'we are going to do this, it's really going to help people and we can actually help manage this'," she said.
"People were so encouraged by that, because we weren't just sitting on our hands and letting this fall down around us."
Mrs Herbert said the decision to operate as a bulk billing centre further reiterated their passion for helping the community in need.
"People don't have a lot of funds and so we are not focusing on any kind of business advantage here, we are focusing on what we can do to help the community," she said.
"Our health professionals are in this role for a reason.
"I think it's going to help a lot of people. We feel pretty good about it."
For those who don't have a Medicare card, Mrs Herbert said a small fee could apply.
"The only thing we ask for is a small fee to cover any prescription costs if we have to handle that for the patient," she said.
"Because it's a sterile environment, we create the prescription for a patient if they need one, and we send it ourselves to the pharmacy directly, so the patient doesn't have to get out of their car or handle anything.
"For that kind of service, we just need a small administrative charge of $5 if people need prescriptions."
The appointment-only clinic began accepting patients on Friday after the medical team's speedy response.
"It's something that we've had no time to consider," Mrs Herbert said.
"It was only (Thursday) that we were able to secure enough swabs to be able to test people right through for the next few days, because of such a terrible shortage of all these supplies."
Mrs Herbert encouraged any GPs in the area to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if they're interested in working at the clinic.