Dr Rupert Backhouse has been a member of the GP down south Board for over two decades and last week, he stepped down from this mammoth tenure.
Rupert has been a key driver behind many GP down south initiatives, not least the realisation of the Peel Health Hub – but more about that later. But even before this, he was the driving force behind establishing a youth medical practice in Mandurah.
Rupert’s motivation has always been around addressing the social determinants of health and addressing inequity in accessing quality health care. He made it his life-long passion to ensure the most marginalised people and those with complex needs were treated with compassion and received the care they needed to live a fulfilling life.
The “Haven” was established in 2003 to provide holistic care for young people in the Peel Region. Promoted as a ‘drop-in’ centre, the medical services started off being offered from an under stairs storage area (Harry Potter style) and later moved to the kitchen bench at the Billy Dower Youth Centre.
The clinic was originally provided by the Child and Adolescent Community Health Service and Rupert was one of the GPs who volunteered there.
Rupert is a passionate advocate for the service and was instrumental in securing funding for computers (essential for a medical practice) and administrative support from GP down south, then increasing services. With each win he led the charge to take the next steps.
First the establishment of PYMS and then ultimately, the Peel Health Hub, which now helps thousands of young people and their families every year. “As a GP with an abiding interest in helping people with such complex issues I helped create the Peel Health Hub which addresses so many of the barriers to accessing appropriate, comprehensive, and flexible treatments. We truly provide genuine patient focussed care.”
Dr Rupert Backhouse has demonstrated a commitment to youth health in the Peel area by his longevity at PYMS. He was a founding GP at the Haven and will remain a key GP at PYMS as it celebrates its 20th year. This despite the challenges faced by such socially focussed medical practice.
We have been blessed to have Rupert’s expertise and passion on the Board, guiding the organisation through significant growth and the innovation of the Peel Health Hub.
We asked Rupert what he is most proud of and this was his response, “The way the organisation has morphed from being supportive of GPs to being supportive of the community, especially the marginalised.” Thankfully we will still see Rupert around the Hub as he continues in his capacity as a GP at PYMS. Rupert is also a board member of Palmerston – the leading Alcohol and other Drugs specialist addiction service and is doing some work for them to help support community detox and case management.
GP down south is an exemplary not-for-profit community organisation. We have been providing health and wellbeing services in the Peel regions and the South West of WA since 1994.