OUR IMPACT 2020/21

HEALTH SERVICES

We view healthcare as a fundamental human right that everyone is deserving of regardless of socioeconomic circumstances. 

Through our network of health services located across the state, the Society specialises in treating a segment of the population often unable to access traditional healthcare – those dealing with complex morbidities including homelessness and addiction. 

In 2020/21, 1,259 people received treatment for alcohol and other drugs with an average period of support per patient of 133 days. Based on the capacity of our alcohol and other drugs services, the primary forms of treatment were outreach support, day rehabilitation programs, medically supervised detoxification and residential rehabilitation. An additional 500 people accessed support through the state-wide Continuing Coordinated Care program. 

Through the Matthew Talbot Clinic located in the inner city of Sydney, 12,523 men received various medical treatments during the year. In 2021, the Matthew Talbot Clinic received approval to deliver the AstraZeneca vaccine; in a short period of time the service was developed into a Pfizer vaccination hub coordinated between St Vincent’s Health, Kirkton Road Centre, City of Sydney and the Ozanam Learning Centre with close to 3,000 people vaccinated within 12 weeks. 

Frederic House – an aged care facility in Waterloo – supported 51 residents during the year. Given the high vulnerability of older men with high medical needs to the virus, increased accountability requirements were taken to ensure the safety of residents (84% vaccinated) and staff (100% vaccinated). 

The impact of COVID-19 required a change in the way services were delivered with programs and counselling taking place online rather than face-to-face. The challenges brought on by the pandemic also led to innovation with our AOD day programs undergoing a redesign from a face-to-face service to a leaner online program running three days a week for two-hour sessions amongst a smaller group of clients. Likewise, nurses from the Matthew Talbot Clinic managed pop-up health clinics for rough sleepers temporarily housed in inner city hotels. 

People eagerly await vaccination at the Ozanam Learning Centre in Woolloomooloo. The clinic provided vaccines to more than 3,000 people by the end of the financial year.

THE MATTHEW TALBOT CLINIC

12,523

men accessed the Clinic in the
2020/21 financial year.

The Matthew Talbot Clinic is the onsite healthcare service at the Matthew Talbot Hostel. We provide a general practitioner and psychiatric services, optometry, podiatry, drop-in health assessments, smoking cessation, and metabolic health clinics, as well as help with heart failure, diabetes, and blood-borne viruses. We provide both in-house services and referrals to outside specialists such as dentists and cardiologists, all made possible by generous donations to the Society.

PROVIDING VACCINES FOR THE VULNERABLE

“I’M PETRIFIED OF NEEDLES BUT IT’S HONESTLY THE SMALLEST NEEDLE AND YOU DON’T EVEN FEEL THE PINCH.”
– CHLOE COOPER
COVID-19 VACCINE RECIPIENT

The joint project to vaccinate people in at-risk groups against COVID-19 at the Ozanam Learning Centre in Woolloomooloo has seen more than 200 doses given on each day it has operated. 

The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, St Vincent’s Hospital, the Kirketon Road Centre, and the City of Sydney have been pooling their resources to make it happen since May 2021. 

The result has been a very well attended clinic that feels more like a community gathering and one that has people clamouring for their chance to return for their second doses. 

Outside of lockdown, it comes complete with a sausage sizzle, gift bags for people receiving the vaccines, and a bright atmosphere that feels at odds with what you’d usually expect from a serious health service. 

Because it very much is that – the expertise of the health professionals, the logistics required to move people through the venue in a COVID-safe manner, and the capacity to deal with outside factors like strong interest from the media are all on display. 

During lockdown, it’s a bit more subdued but that community spirit shines through. 

One of the people grateful to have received their vaccination through the clinic is Chloe Cooper, who volunteered to have her immunisation recorded by the Channel 9 News. 

“I am doing it to see my Nan,” she said, shortly after receiving her first dose. 

“The lockdown’s been extended so it’s a shame but it is what it is and I can’t see my Nan just yet. 

“Although, I have made plans for once the restrictions are lifted.” 

Despite a fear of needles, when offered the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID, Chloe took it with only a bit of anxiety. 

“I’m petrified of needles but it’s honestly the smallest needle and you don’t even feel the pinch. 

“So, it’s easy. 

“It’s something that you work yourself up for but it’s for nothing because the needle itself is very, very small. 

“You just turn away and it’s over and done with within three seconds,” she said. 

Chloe explains she’s not just doing it for herself or her family but the whole community and she encourages others to do the same. 

“It does help the community, it does help your loved ones, overall the good outweighs the bad.

Chloe says that having had the vaccine has given her a bit of peace of mind amidst the pandemic. 

“I feel, since the vaccine and everything, I’m feeling more relaxed,” she said.

Another vaccine is provided at the Ozanam Learning Centre.