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Our Work

The Partnership for Health Equity (PHE) aims to improve access to primary healthcare for marginalised groups, including homeless persons, drug users, travellers, migrants and others.


To achieve this, the PHE is currently working on inter-related and dynamic components:

  • Educational initiatives for medical students and GP trainees on how to care for these marginalised groups

  • Conducting research about access to healthcare for these groups

  • Delivery of a low-threshold GP service in Limerick city

  • Raising awareness about health equity and encouraging networking between interested health professionals, community organisations and academics.


Since 2012 the Partnership in Health Equity has had significant outcomes and achievements including:

  • Ground breaking Special Interest Posts in the NDCGP training programme for GP trainees in Dublin to gain their core clinical practice in prisons, hostels for homeless people and clinics for Roma and undocumented migrants

  • National impact on the Irish College of General Practice’s curriculum for postgraduate training for GPs with new modules written about health equity and migrant health

  • Stimulating the establishment of a vibrant, student-led Student Health Equity group at GEMS UL

  • Completion of robust research about homelessness and health status in Dublin and Limerick city - launched on September 23 2015  Link 

  • Completion of a phenomenological study on  the lived experience of homelessness and mental health  Link

  • Participatory research to explore health priorities - innovative research methods have been used to explore the perspectives of homeless people, migrants, sex workers, drug users and single mothers in low income families

  • Establishment of a thriving low-threshold GP service that has completed approximately 800 consultations during its first year and facilitated positive networking between relevant statutory and non-statutory agencies – First anniversary event attended by Minister Jan O Sullivan

Levers and barriers to accessing primary care: New Research from the Partnership for Health Equity

Patrick O’Donnell, Edel Tierney, Austin O’Carroll, Diane Nurse and Anne MacFarlane

This participatory research used innovative methods to effectively engage with six marginalised groups who are often considered hard-to-reach and hard-to-research. Local organisations and primary care services acted as gatekeepers for meeting all participants. Four main themes were identified; the home environment, the Irish 'two-tier' healthcare system, healthcare encounters and complex health needs. The research demonstrates that there are many complicated personal and structural barriers to accessing primary healthcare for these groups. Findings of this research are of relevance to primary care professionals and policy makers alike.

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