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Welcome Mobile Health Unit delivering outreach sexual health service in Western Trust

Western Trust first outreach sexual health initiative for homeless community the North West pictured from left to right are: Cate Greer, Staff Nurse, Sexual Health Clinic; Michelle Doyle, Public Health Nurse for the Homeless; Susan Duncan, Welcome Organisation, Street Outreach and Floating Support Manager; Dr John White, Consultant in Sexual Health; Clar Blakely, Staff Nurse Sexual Health Clinic and Lynn Devine, Staff Nurse, Sexual Health Clinic.

From next week The Welcome Organisation will be working alongside the Western Health Trust’s Sexual Health Team and Homeless Transformation Team to deliver an outreach sexual health service for people in temporary accommodation and who are experiencing homelessness in Derry/Londonderry. We are delighted to be able to play a key role in delivering this vital sexual health service for people affected by homelessness. Since its launch in November 2021, The Welcome Organisation’s Mobile Health Unit has been bringing a range of potentially life-saving services to people who are homeless in the Belfast Trust and the Western Trust. Our aim with the Mobile Health Unit is to break down barriers faced by homeless people in accessing healthcare. This initiative with the Western Trust’s Sexual Health Team and Homeless Transformation Team does exactly that.

The first sexual health clinic will be take place on 07 September 2022 as part of Sexual Health Week (04 September to 10 September 2022). The aim of the initiative is to promote sexual wellbeing and access to sexual healthcare which are often forgotten elements of healthcare, but nonetheless can significantly impact upon so much of an individual’s overall wellbeing. Paula Devine, Acting Assistant Director of Primary & Community Care at the Western Trust said: “This is an excellent example of highly driven teams working collaboratively, to achieve enhanced healthcare accessibility for those in need of a specialist service, advice and support. This is both innovative and progressive, and I commend all those involved and wish them every success.” Dr Melissa Perry, Consultant in Sexual Health at the Western Trust explained: “One of the main contributing factors to homelessness can be a breakdown in relationships; people may find themselves escaping an abusive partner or an abusive situation, should this be physical, emotional or sexual. Navigating daily life activities without the security of a permanent roof over your head is extremely challenging, navigating sex or sexual partnerships presents its own set of unique additional challenges, including the ability to access health services.” “This new service will aim to minimise these challenges by providing sexual health care in a way that will allow easier and more acceptable access to testing for sexual transmitted infections, advice about infection prevention strategies and many other elements of sexual health care.”

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