Outreach clinic gives locals access to family planning service

Family Planning NSW’s doctor Clea Anagnostopoulou and clinical nurse specialist
Karen Wallace at the Cobar Outreach Clinic at Cobar Hospital on Friday. A rotating roster of Family Planning NSW doctors and nursing staff are now conducting monthly outreach clinics in Cobar.

Reproductive and sexual health information, advice and services are now available to local residents through an outreach clinic conducted each month in Cobar by Family Planning NSW.

Cobar patients may consult a visiting doctor or nurse about a range of subjects including: contraceptives; fertility issues; pregnancy testing and pregnancy options; having an IUD fitted or checked; cervical screening (pap smears); breast checks and referrals; sexual health (including men’s sexual health); STIs; pregnancy options; problems and irregularities in menstruation; and menopause issues.

Family Planning’s Dr Clea Anagnostopoulou, a doctor and educator with 20 years’ experience in sexual and reproductive health, and Karen Wallace, an experienced clinical nurse specialist, visited Cobar last week as part of the monthly outreach service.

Dr Clea said patients can confidentially discuss a range of gynaecological and vaginal problems with clinic staff.

“We’re the gap between the GP and the obstetrician,” Dr Clea explained.

She said while most of their patients
are women, the service is also available to men.

“We mainly see men about fertility problems,” she said.

The Family Planning NSW consultations offer a range of contraceptive options and sexual health advice as well as management.

A doctor or nurse conducts examinations, investigations and offers treatment options in conjunction with remote support from Family Planning medical officers.

The outreach service has been receiving referrals from the Cobar Community Health’s women’s health and sexual health staff and they aim to also work in collaboration with local doctors to ensure the community is aware of the services they offer.

Dr Clea said people don’t need a referral to attend the outreach clinic and visits and any procedures conducted are all bulk billed.

She said the outreach clinic came as a result of seeing a number of clients from Cobar (and other nearby country towns) who were travelling to the Dubbo Family Planning clinic for consultations and treatment.

“The launch of the Cobar (and also the Coonabarabran) monthly outreach clinics aim to address this and remove some of the access barriers for people in local communities, and provide expert reproductive and sexual health care,” Dr Clea said.

“August is the second month that the outreach services have been in place and so far, we’ve had a lot of interest.”

Dr Clea encouraged anyone with any questions relating to reproductive and sexual health, to book a visit.

She said people of all ages and genders are welcome.

“We recognise the importance of reproductive and sexual health for people of all ages, including young girls who might be seeking information about contraceptives, and don’t require guardians to attend,” she said.

See advertisement on Page 7 for NSW Family Planning’s contact details and dates of their next Cobar visit.