Making a difference to the most vulnerable members of the community is what drives Dr Daniel Nour to get out of bed every morning.
He is the founder of Street Side Medics, a not-for-profit, mobile medical service led by general practitioners for people experiencing homelessness.
Dr Nour said he was inspired to start the service, which opened in August 2020, while studying medicine in London.
“I walked out of the train station, and I saw a man having a seizure,” he said.
“I provided primary medical care until the paramedics arrived. Shortly after that, I had a conversation with his friends who had been around him, and they said he had been having seizures for months, but mostly in alleyways away from the main street.
“They felt the healthcare system cared less for them, and they were suffering in silence rather than seeking out medical care.
“Once I returned to Australia, I realised we do have the best healthcare system in the world, but there are limits to how some people can access that care – people experiencing homelessness have worse health outcomes.
“So, looking at those barriers, the idea for Street Side Medics was born.”
With 145 volunteers and four clinics across New South Wales, Street Side Medics has changed the lives of more than 300 patients.
It has treated many communicable and non-communicable illnesses, dealt with neglected medical needs, and detected conditions that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
“As a clinician, helping people in those circumstances, it’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Dr Nour said.
“There’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to help those who otherwise wouldn’t get help.
“It’s also professionally fulfilling, you do see interesting medical conditions with unique symptoms, and it’s interesting and challenging.”
Dr Nour works full-time at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and volunteers his afternoons at each of the four Street Side Medics sites.
“One of the positives to come out of COVID was the private and public systems working together,” he said.
“We saw improvement in health technology, telehealth, and that progress will continue to serve patients for years to come, and that includes the relationship between the private and public health sectors.”
The 2022 NSW Young Australian of the Year will be a speaker at the APHA 40th National Congress in late March.
“I’ll be talking predominantly about my story, and also the role we need to play as health professionals and providers,” Dr Nour said.
“I’m looking forward to talking about my views on healthcare for vulnerable people and looking at how we can tailor healthcare services for our communities.”
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