1st April 2022 Traveller Health Working Group presented with their HSE Health Excellence Award
The pioneering work of the Traveller Health Working Group in St Luke’s General Hospital, Carlow-Kilkenny were the deserving winners of the HSE Excellence Improving Patient Experience Award last year.
Established almost seven years ago, the Traveller Health Working Group was the first of its kind in an acute hospital in the country and it was established as a partnership approach between hospital management and staff, members of the Travelling community, local Traveller health projects and the HSE South East Traveller Health Unit.
Paula Power, Project lead and Director of Midwifery at St Luke’s Hospital explained that the group was set up based on staff feedback and patient feedback on the need to improve the patient experience for the Travelling community.
Zoe Doheny, regional coordinator for Traveller Health and Traveller Mental Health Liaison Nurse reflected that “the aim of the group was to improve the patient experience of members of the Travelling Community who use the hospital services and to provide the necessary training to staff to encourage them to work in a way that respects the cultural diversity of all service users.”
She said that the hospital management and staff “really listened to the voice of the Travelling community.
“They listened and acted on their voices and their opinions about what would make them feel more welcome in the hospital. It has broken down the barriers and the concerns about coming into the hospital. Hospital was often seen as a place where we go to die rather than a place where we go to get better by the Travelling community but now we have really positive feedback.”
Paula said the main problem was the lack of understanding of the Travelling culture but training has ensured that staff are properly aware of the differences: “The Traveller cultural awareness project delivered training to staff, breaking down barriers and helping us question our practices so we could meet the needs of the community.”