Safetynet began as ‘Safetynet Ireland’, a network for health professionals and organisations working to improve health care access for homeless people. The organisation was incorporated in 2007 and later received charity status. In 2015 Safetynet changed its mandate and name to become Safetynet Primary Care and include health care service provision among its core activities. In 2017 Safetynet continues its networking remit, facilitating coordinated health care through a shared electronic patient record system. Safetynet now employs GPs, nurses and support workers to provide services to homeless people and vulnerable groups. Safetynet Primary Care continues to identify gaps in health services and facilitate the development of new services with the aim of ensuring equitable health care for all. Safetynet is part funded by the HSE and receives voluntary donations.
Board members have been carefully selected to provide broad medical and organisational experience and have significant medical, NGO, private sector and governance experience.
Safetynet Primary Care board members are:
Kevin Kenny, David Cagney, Dr. Cliona Ni Chealaigh, Sile Kelly, Brian Melaugh, Frank Mullelly, Frances O'Keefe, Dr.Philip Wiehe.
Company Secretary: Nicola Keogh.
Clinical Governance Subcommittee members: Dr Cliona Ni Cheallaigh, CNM Jess Sears, Dr Kieran Harkin
Dr Fionnuala Ni Ainle, Dr Mel Bates, Dr Austin O’Carroll
General Manager, Head Office
Fiona O’Reilly was appointed as Safetynet’s General Manager in December 2016 and reports to the Safetynet Board. Fiona also works part time as an Assistant Programme Director on the North Dublin City GP Training Programme.
Fiona has spent the last three decades working in the health care arena both nationally and internationally. Fiona moved into different roles within and outside health systems but always with a focus on health equity. Fiona's work involved health care delivery, design, management, review and evaluation. Fiona established and managed programmes in war torn countries (e.g. Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia) and conducted evaluations in Afghanistan, Zambia and Kenya.
Realising the effect of social deprivation on health is not simply a developing world phenomenon, Fiona turned her focus to research in the context of deprivation in Dublin.
Fiona has conducted research at TCD, the RCSI and the
Dept. of Anthropology at NUI Maynooth. Her PhD thesis "Reality or Rhetoric, Community Involvement in Primary Care in North Inner City Dublin" allowed her to critically review primary care in the context of urban deprivation. Fiona worked as a Senior Research Fellow in Social Inclusion, at the Partnership for Health Equity (www.healthequity.ie/about-us). She led the research study leading to the 'Homelessness: An Unhealthy State' report (www.healthequity.ie/our-work).
Fiona is a founding director of the Emergency Nutrition Network (www.ennonline.net). She previously worked as director for the Agency for Personnel Services Overseas (APSO) Humanitarian Assistance Training Programme and has taught on a number of MSc training programmes (TCD, UCD, RCSI). Fiona has also worked over the past decade as an independent education and research consultant.
Dr. Austin O ‘Carroll
Dr Austin O Carroll was Founder of Safetynet in 2007 and Medical Director of Safetynet from 2007-2017.The focus of his career has been improving access for communities affected by marginalization or deprivation to quality primary healthcare. He initiated several projects with Safetynet including the Mobile Health Unit Service for Rough Sleepers. He founded with Dr Ming Rawat the North Dublin City GP Training programme which is the first programme internationally that trains GP’s to work in communities affected by deprivation or marginalization. He is founding member with Dr Kieran Harkin of GMQ services which provides 12 clinics for homeless people in hostels/drop-in centres. He ran the Mountjoy Street Family Practice since 1997 which also provides 6 clinics to homeless people since 2005. He co-founded the Partnership for Health Equity between the HSE Social Inclusion, NDCGP, ICGP and University of Limerick. He is presently establishing for Safetynet, Curam Healthnet, a new social enterprise that creates new GP practices in areas of deprivation. The first practice is in Summerhill, Dublin 1. He completed a Doctorate in ethnographic research into the health service usage behaviours of homeless people and being involved in several research projects addressing access to primary care. He was a co-founding member of Northdoc. He received the Fiona Bradley Award; the Time & Tide Award for his work with migrants; the Healthcare professional of the Year Award 2015 and was awarded an Honorary membership of the RCPI. Throughout, he has worked closely with Dr Fiona O Reilly on their mutual passion to rectify health inequities.
Safetynet General Nurse - Homeless Primary Care Team
In-reach team GP
Dr. Cathy Cullen
Medical Director/Roma Clinic GP
Following graduation from UCD in 1989, Cathy trained as a GP on the Dublin Vocational Training Scheme.
After working as a sessional GP in Springfield, Tallaght, for five years, she moved to Goatstown in 1999 as a part-time salaried associate and has worked there since then. She is a keen spokesperson for the value of committed part-time general practitioners, regardless of their gender.
Cathy has been actively involved in small group learning since completing vocational training and was a group leader for 5 years until becoming a CME tutor in the Merrion Faculty, a post she continued for 15 years. She was involved in organising and delivering the education of small groups of up to 90 GPs annually throughout this time. Cathy also runs a Balint course for our programme trainees in their final year of training. She is still a CME group leader, and runs a post scheme graduate group.
In-reach CNM Mental health
Sinead trained as a nurse in Trinity College Dublin and graduated with a B.Sc in Mental Health Nursing in October 2009.
She has been working in the field of homelessness and addiction since 2010 where she first started working with the Simon Community on the Alcohol Detox Unit. During this time, she completed a 1 year part time post grad in addiction studies at NUI Maynooth.
She spent a brief 4 months working in an addiction centre in central London, during which she was sent to Al Ain, United Arab Emirates for two weeks to provide addiction support to a patient in Tawam Hospital.
Upon arriving back in Dublin she took up a post with Depaul on a community integration project developing pathways and health promotion supports for people experiencing homelessness. She was instrumental in the development of the In Reach nursing and GP clinic in Bru Aimsir, which has been used as the new model for the new Safetynet In Reach clinics. On a recent trip to New York she spent a day out on the field in Manhattan with the CUCS street medicine team, a programme that brings health care directly to homeless people living on the streets of New York City.
In her new role as Clinical Nurse Manager of the Safetynet In Reach team she hopes to influence the way that health care is delivered to our most vulnerable in society, from integration of primary care services, safe homeless discharge planning and the further development of partnerships with hospitals and homeless agencies.
Emma studied general nursing in UCD, graduating in November 2014. Since then she worked in St.Vincent’s University Hospital for one year on a liver and pancreatic surgical ward. She then lived in Australia for six months and worked in the Royal Hospital Melbourne as a general nurse working in diverse ward areas. Since coming home, Emma is working in the Mater Hospital and started with Safetynet in May 2017. Emma’s currently studying a Masters in Public Health in UCC which will be completed in September 2017. Emma now works as a part time nurse for Safetynet Primary Care, providing nursing support across a number of our projects.