The fifth Irish Street Medicine Symposium was held in Cork in September 2019. Many health and social care workers, academics, policy makers, planners and service users took part in this annual conference. Topics for discussion included the health of people in homelessness, people who use drugs, people in prison and providing healthcare for migrants and refugees.
The hosts were the Adult Homeless Integrated Team of Cork-Kerry Community Healthcare and Safetynet Primary Care with support from the Office of HSE Social Inclusion, the Department of General Practice at University College Cork and Cork City Council. Over the two days, more than 200 people attended to hear over 50 presentations and 12 workshops.
Chris O’Donnell, who had lived experience of homelessness herself, spoke movingly about the challenges she had faced in recent years, and the things that had helped her to overcome those challenges. The national leads for HSE Primary Care, HSE Social Inclusion and the Housing First initiative also spoke about the work taking place across the country that is trying to improve the health of vulnerable and excluded people.
There was a large focus also on the timely issue of refugee and migrant health. There were presentations on innovative psychology services that had been established in Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres, and the use of new vulnerability assessment tools in order to measure trauma in this population. Research on a diverse range of inclusion health topics was presented by researchers from across the country. This included efficient data collection in homeless health, palliative care for homeless populations, specific services for women and practical cardiovascular initiatives.
All of the presentations from the symposium are available at: https://www.primarycaresafetynet.ie/symposium-2019