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Irish Street Medicine Symposium 

Trinity College Dublin School of Medicine
28 – 29 September



4th Irish Street Medicine Symposium Call for Action


Sept 29th @17.00


The fourth Irish Street Medicine Symposium this weekend, brought together a growing community of health and social care workers, academics, policy makers, planners and service users from around the country for a two-day event where participants worked together to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable in our society – homeless people, drug users, prisoners and migrants.

“We changed the format of the event this year so that participants could work together to unpack the complex issue, and bring solutions to the table if we are to redress the worsening homeless crisis,” explained Safetynet’s General Manager Dr Fiona O’Reilly



Issues ranged from improving care and protection for rough sleepers in extreme weather conditions, to identification and first line management of adults at risk of malnutrition.


While participants agreed that housing is the most effective way to protect the health of those without homes, they nevertheless reached consensus on a number of actions necessary to safeguard vulnerable groups some of which are presented below.The Symposium call for government support to implement the following:



  • Provision of high protein and high calorie meals and snacks as a standard for homeless people staying at night shelters and rough sleeping, to prevent malnutrition. Nutritional standards need to be developed and monitored for homeless services and direct provision centres.

Migrant Health Care

  • Access to free quality interpreting services for patients without English attending Primary Care services so that clinicians can talk to their patients, and patients can understand and discuss matters with their healthcare providers.


Accommodation to protect physical and mental health

  • Expansion of long-term housing solutions for those currently homeless (such as housing first programmes).

  • Emergency accommodation accessible to homeless people 24hrs per day removing the need to wander the streets potentially further compromising health.

  • Expansion of residential drug and alcohol stabilisation and recovery services that are accessible directly from hospital.

  • Expansion of supported accommodation with appropriately trained staff for people who are homeless with severe and enduring mental illness.


Rough Sleeper Health

  • Development and resourcing of an interagency task force to plan and implement the response to protect the health of those who choose stay out in extreme weather.

Elimination of TB

  • Commitment to consistent resourcing for active case finding and appropriate follow up and treatment.


Senator Lynn Ruane who addressed the conference participants on Saturday morning said the discussions at the conference are discussions that policy makers should be having at the highest levels she said “unfortunately the health rights of people in hostel and emergency accommodation is not something I experience come up to often”.


This event was hosted by Safetynet Primary Care and supported by HSE Social Inclusion at Trinity College’s Institute for Population Health, Tallaght on 28th and 29th September.


For more information contact:

Safetynet’s General Manager, Fiona O’Reilly 0871628663

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