Dr Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, consultant in general medicine and infectious diseases at St James’s Hospital in Dublin, pioneers a unique programme on inclusion health in the hospital. This is a dedicated service to tackle health and social inequities among our most vulnerable and socially excluded populations: the homeless, people with substance use disorders, sex workers and prisoners.
A year-long pilot study of Ní Cheallaigh’s programme showed savings of almost €1 million in direct costs to the hospital and of 3,066 bed stays. The programme has extended to the Mater hospital and will now be funded as a two-year pilot by the HSE and Genio under the Service Reform Fund, with national intentions.
“It’s about sitting down with people and working with them to identify and address all of their needs – people who are homeless or who have addiction issues have often experienced abuse and/or neglect in childhood,” she says. This affects their ability to look after their health in many ways. The programme requires bringing together a wide range of people – nurses, doctors, keyworkers, hostel staff – who work in services across Dublin.
Source: Eimear Galvin, The Irish Times, 8th May 2019