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New van helps MHERV drive men’s health in regional and rural NSW

The Men’s Health Education Rural Van (MHERV) has received a huge boost to its enterprise with the donation of a new mobile home to replace its old caravan and utility.

The new vehicle, underwritten by the NSW Department of Health, allows MHERV to continue its mission – providing health checks to blokes in rural and remote NSW – and catching those dangerously close to a health crisis.

Since the Rotary Clubs of NSW-sponsored operation began in 2017, 13,500 patients have had medical check-ups wherever the van pulls up including Rotary Clubs, at Bunnings, Men’s Sheds, work depots, municipal parks, church grounds, vacant blocks, outside hotels, and along the main street, where foot traffic is likely to be frequent.

According to MHERV’s mid-year report, 460 cases have required urgent medical attention and 6370 have been encouraged to see their GP after the MHERV tests identified a health risk.

“The van’s operations clearly show men are more likely to get a free medical check-up on the spot than seek medical advice,” says team leader Graeme Hooper.

In the first ‘Tour’ of regional towns, registered nurse Bill Power and his wife Debbie went to 58 towns within regional NSW, including Katoomba, Bega, Riverina, and Tamworth, providing clinics six days a week.

A total of 1377 men were seen of which:

  • Cat 1 (Tests good but make a regular GP appointment) 898
  • Cat 2 (Tests indicate an issue – see your GP) 460
  • Cat 3 (Seek medical advice immediately, you are at risk) 19

Looking at all Tours, 50.4% of locals fell into the Cat 1 group and 46.2% Cat 2, leaving 3.3% on the dangerous, Cat 3 list.

The second tour began on 26th July, with registered nurse Leanne Garvey running the clinics and sharing the driving to more than 50 regional and rural centres with her son, Tom.

They will be on the road until 1st December, with a semi-formal launch of the new van at the rotunda on the foreshore at Warner’s Bay on 4th September at 11 am.


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