Health Outreach Program

Palm Island, Nth Queensland

Allied Health for Palm Island community

Our long term commitment to the remote Palm Island indigenous community is to provide a range of accessible allied healthcare services with cultural sensitivity. Working with SOS Health Services – Palm Island, the community, and local service providers, volunteers contribute to long term solutions and measurable positive health outcomes.

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Got a question about this program? Contact us

Current Challenges on Palm Island

Palm-mapIt is widely reported that the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians is among the poorest in the world. Attributed to decades of neglect and inadequate service provision, the Bwgcolman and Munbarra people on Palm Island in North Queensland have not escaped the issues associated with remoteness. Limited availability of allied health services such as physiotherapy, podiatry and dietetics in particular, was problematic given the high rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; as well as women’s health issues, sports injuries and general health concerns experienced by the elderly and people with disabilities, or those requiring post surgery rehabilitation.

Inequality in service availability

Although essential health services are available through Queensland Health, the lack of physiotherapy and related allied health services on Palm Island highlights the inequality of service provision when compared to the rest of the Queensland population. Despite being located just 65kms off the coast of Townsville, Palm Island still lacks the autonomy and choice of regular, culturally specific health services; exacerbating the general distrust of the health system and practitioners.  Travel to access services on the mainland is inconvenient and costly.

AliceManagement, carers and residents are eternally grateful for your time, effort, expertise, empathy and professionalism you bestowed on us in the past week. Thank you SOS Team.

Alice ~ Manager, Sandy Boyd Aged Care Hostel

What SOS is doing?

Allied Health services

We can’t offer a ‘quick fix’ solution, however SOS Health is working together with the Palm Island community to improve the long term availability, regularity and quality of health services through the provision of physiotherapy and related allied healthcare.

Health Outreach Program

The capacity to improve the physical health and quality of life for the Palm Island community cannot be underestimated. To supplement SOS Health Services, volunteers will provide specialist services to meet specific community needs including:

  • Physiotherapy – Continence & Women’s Health, Cardiorespiratory, Neuro, Paediatrics, Diabetes Management, Exercise & Fitness
  • Dietetics, Diabetes education
  • Podiatry
  • Occupational Therapy

Close the Gap

SOS Health is working with community services to Close the Gap in health outcomes for the Palm Island community through the provision of full time services:

  • Allied Health (Physiotherapy, Podiatry, OT, Nutrition)
  • Exercise and Fitness
  • Health Promotion and education to increase health literacy
  • Promoting meaningful partnerships with existing health service providers


Sports are an important part of life on Palm Island. Providing injury prevention techniques, strapping clinics, and assessing and developing treatment plans to manage new and existing injuries are vital services we offer the many sports participants and clubs.

  • "The local indigenous children living on Palm Island were absolutely amazing. They were so humble and very welcoming."

    Trent Wade - Physiotherapist (Qld)

  • "It was great to see that a simple exercise program taught to the residents of the aged care facility, or massaging the hard working teachers of the Palm Island schools, had made a small impact on the morale of the island."

    Nearida Siv - Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy (ACT)

  • "There are no words to describe the experiences I had and the people I met there… after being lucky enough to have a small glimpse of life on Palm Island."

    Mandy Lowe - Physio, Back In Motion, Mentone(Vic)

  • "I loved meeting the people, hearing their stories; and being able to feel the rhythm of Palm Island was something that I really enjoyed."

    Ben Croxford - Physiotherapist, Back In Motion, Wantirna South (VIC)

  • "In October 2013 I volunteered on Palm Island with SOS Health Foundation. This is a short video of the island and it's beautiful people."

    Millie Shield - Physiotherapist, Bodytech Physio, Clifton Beach (TAS)

Read more stories

Why volunteer with SOS Health Foundation

Focus on Allied Health

SOS Health Foundation was formed by physios to provide opportunities for physios, podiatrists, OT, speech pathologists and related health practitioners who want to use their skills and expertise to ensure quality services are available when and wherever needed, even in the most remote communities in Australia.

All organised for you

We make it easy for you to get involved. We plan your itinerary and take care of all the details, including accommodation, cultural orientation, and program facilitation. You are free to focus on what you do best and enjoy the experience of serving the health needs of those who would otherwise go without, right here in your own backyard.

Travel to and from Gove, and meals are your own expense.

It’s an experience

We visit some of Australia’s most remote communities and locations, places that most people will never get to see. Volunteers join our Health Outreach Program because they want to ‘give back’ to those less fortunate, and we can make that happen. What most people don’t expect is just how much they gain from the experience.

Sustainable impact

We work collaboratively with local organisations to ensure that we are hitting the most in-need areas and having the most effective long term outcomes.

How can you help?

Volunteer with us

Your skills are important to people on Palm Island. Opportunities are open to physiotherapists, podiatrists, occupational therapists, dieticians and related allied health practitioners from around Australia who can give of their time to make a significant contribution to the health and wellness of people in this community. If you share our vision and values, and would like to use your skills and expertise where they are needed most, apply now.

Each Health Outreach to Palm Island is for a one week period. This opportunity is open to fully qualified practitioners who are registered in Australia.

Volunteer with us


If you are not in a position to volunteer but would like to help, why not consider making a tax deductible donation to this or one of several other initiatives by giving Online. Or, join a Work Place Giving program and make SOS Health the beneficiary, or, start or join a fundraising campaign in your workplace or social network.

Your contribution is important to maintaining sustainable services which significantly improve the health of disadvantaged individuals and communities in urban and remote Australia.


Donate to this project

Join a Fundraiser

SOS Health relies entirely on the generosity of people like you, to meet the physical health needs of the Palm Island community, so every dollar helps. There are many fundraising opportunities.

  • Get involved in work4significance Day, 1st Tuesday in September.
  • Start or join a Workplace Giving Program in your workplace.
  • Take part in a major public fundraising event and select the SOS Health Foundation as your charity of choice.


Fundraising events