Intercultural Health Strategy

In 2007, the HSE launched its first National Intercultural Health Strategy which was developed on foot of the National Action Plan against Racism launched by An Taoiseach in 2005.

The Strategy is designed to ensure that the HSE provides a quality health service equally to all, responds appropriately to the specific health and social care needs of new and well established minority communities and is an employer of choice for many. A summary of this Strategy is available on the HSE website in the following languages: -


Since publication, implementation of the Strategy has progressed on three main themes and these are Access to services; Data, Information & Research; and Staff Learning, Training and Support.

A good example of a practical resource is the Emergency Multilingual Aid which has been rolled out across a large number of hospitals in the country - this resource is designed to assist staff in communicating with patients who present in acute or emergency situations and who are not proficient in English. Another initiative was the development of a Health Services Intercultural Guide which has been designed to assist staff in caring in sensitive, culturally competent ways for inpatients from diverse religious communities and cultures. The Guide is being rolled out across hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and a range of other settings.

Updates to the National Intercutural Health Strategy were published in
March 2009,
September 2009,
March 2010,
September 2010 ,
March 2011,
September 2011,
March 2012

2013 Update

The HSE National Social Inclusion Unit published the Lost in Translation resource in February 2012. This resource will support staff in the translation of information leaflets, forms, and other health related information to support service users in accessing and using services. The overall aim of this resource is to guide, assist and support staff in pursuing good practice in enabling service users to enjoy access to high quality translated information that has been produced in a cost effective, business focused manner and is appropriate to the needs of a wide range of service users.

Information about this report, as well as a link to the report is available at this link:

This report forms part of recommendations of the HSE National Intercultural Health Strategy 2007 – 2012 and supplements other resources that include the Emergency Multilingual Aid and the Intercultural Guide.

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