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Our new Mobile Health Unit brings homeless healthcare to people affected by homelessness 'where they are at'.

 

We are working alongside homeless healthcare professionals who use the vehicle to provide our range of services, such as drop-in clinics at hostels, vaccine boosters, sexual health checks, hepatitis checks, ‘on the ground’ healthcare and more.

The unit is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Inside the space is divided into two main areas. There is a comfortable waiting area with bench seating for patients which can be closed off from the private clinical space where treatment is carried out.

Within the clinical area there is a treatment bed, a fridge for transporting refrigerated pharmaceuticals including vaccines, lockable storage cupboards, a water system with hot and cold water, a bench area where medical staff can prepare their treatment procedures as well as a CCTV camera system to view into the waiting area and outside the van.

The Mobile Health Unit enhances our existing street outreach provision to improve the accessibility and quality of interventions for the hidden homeless and those who sleep rough - ultimately saving lives.

The life expectancy of someone sleeping rough is around 43 years old – 30 years younger than the rest of the population. Time on the streets leads to serious health problems – flu or a virus can be a killer when sleeping rough.

Many of those we work with find it hard to go to a GP or A&E or to keep appointments. The simple things we do every day can be intimidating experiences for others.

This unit will help ease some of these problems and will help to alleviate some of the pressures being faced by our emergency departments and blue light services.

The Mobile Health Unit is available to homeless healthcare providers across Northern Ireland. Homeless healthcare providers can contact The Welcome Organisation directly to book the van.

We would like to say a huge thanks to Belfast Live and their readers who helped fund the Unit.

We would also like to say thanks to the Maureen Boal Charitable Trust and to all the staff at Plumbmaster, Express Surveyors and Ormeau Credit Union who donated so generously to help fund the unit. Thank you also to Mercedes Truck and Van Mallusk for providing a significant discount on the purchase of the van. 

For more information contact kieran@homelessbelfast.org

Image: Trevor McBride ©