8th February, 2017

Extern have been working in partnership for the past year with the Northern Trust to develop 18 staff within the homelessness and addictions services as ‘Heartstart’ instructors. This means they can provide the Basic Life Support training within our Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Administration courses.

Our Heartstart scheme is housed within the Northern Trust’s scheme with clinical governance provided by them. We are especially grateful to Adam Hanna (Resuscitation Officer) and Florence ‘Flo’ Hand (Health and Wellbeing Team) for their assistance in getting us set up, going out of their way to remove many of the obstacles in our way.

Additionally, Flo procured hundreds of items for us including pocket resuscitation devices, an injecting arm and a hand scanner to name but a few. In total, this equipment would have cost us several thousand pounds. Not only did we get it for free but she spent hours ordering the equipment having to go through all the various red tape in the Trust. For that reason we decided that it would be in order to thank her with a bunch of flowers as a small token of our appreciation.

Flo Is a tireless campaigner on behalf of ECHO (Enhancing Health Care for people affected by Homelessness), a group which is chaired by the ever enigmatic Dr Olive Buckley, Clinical Director of the Rowan Sexual Assault Referral Centre http://therowan.net/ I have been involved with ECHO since 2014 and am keen to remain able to support it’s vital work on behalf of people affected by homelessness in the Northern Trust area. Buff also sits on this group in his capacity as Low Threshold Services Manager. For anyone interested in an example of ECHO’s work, they are putting on a lunchtime seminar on 9th March in the Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena, 12-2pm, on medications management.

Commenting on the partnership Chris Rintoul, Naloxone Training Lead said,

"I believe that strong partnerships between voluntary and statutory agencies such as the one we enjoy with the Northern Trust are vital in addressing the needs of those with multiple disadvantage such as homeless people. Beyond promoting positive outcomes for these people, this way of working helps us as workers to develop relationships across agencies and promotes a creative synergy between us."