When people first walk into Advanced Health Medical Centre in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown, they are always amazed by the variety of medical services on offer. Not only do they have access to General Practitioners (GPs), dentists, physiotherapists and radiologists, but they can also speak to these medical practitioners in a variety of languages such as Greek, Arabic, Vietnamese, Chinese and English.
Dr Peter Voutos and Dr Con Keramianakis are the newest additions to the Centre and with over 30 years of experience as GPs, the local Greek community are flocking to them for treatment.
“The Greek population is very, very prominent in our view because I mean there’s about 25,000 to 27,000 Greeks in the Canterbury-Bankstown region… and Dr Voutos is the biggest Greek doctor in Australia and he has about 7,000 of those patients,” Clinical Lead at the Centre, Dr John Barlow, tells The Greek Herald.
“We also have Dr Con who was a lead skin cancer doctor from the country and he’s now located in our centre and they are going to work together to service the Greek population.
“The response has been pretty phenomenal. It’s been quite positive because, in hindsight, alot of these new patients weren’t really getting the best health care outcomes in the community and when you put a Centre with quality doctors and a quality operation, they come and it’s amazing.”
The Centre opened its doors to multicultural communities in the Canterbury-Bankstown area four months ago and Dr Barlow says it’s main aim was to change the face of the healthcare market in the area and provide medical information in a culturally sensitive way.
“Most of the practitioners, doctors and surgeons [in the area] were quite old, quite outdated, quite costly and poor practice was done in terms of health outcomes,” Dr Barlow says.
“We built a centre which was multifaceted… and then sort of had the mindset of getting different GPs and different cultures into it. That has allowed us to attract a diverse bunch of people and bring them into one centre and sort of change that cultural stigma of Bankstown for example being an Arabic-dominated area or an Australian-dominated area and they couldn’t intermingle or intermix.”
With the help of Dr Voutos and Dr Keramianakis, as well as other doctors at the Centre, they are managing to break this cultural stigma at a time when the Canterbury-Bankstown area needs it the most.
Residents from this region are currently under strict COVID-19 restrictions due to a recent outbreak in New South Wales and government departments are working hard to get COVID-19 health messages out to multicultural communities in their own language.
The Centre is also doing its part with Dr Barlow saying their linguistically-diverse GPs are able to administer both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in a safe space.
“We’re one of the only providers of the COVID vaccine in the Canterbury-Bankstown region and we’ve got the centre to do so. We’ve got nearly 1,500 square metres of medical space available and it’s an opportunity where people can come in, not feel like they’re affected by COVID-19, there’s enough space, there’s enough seating, we’re fully COVID compliant,” Dr Barlow concludes.
It’s clear that Bankstown’s Advanced Health Medical Centre really is set to change the face of medical care in the region.