Health

Gypsies and Travellers have some of the poorest health outcomes and therefore are a key priority.

One of the most frequently cited healthcare problems facing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people is in accessing primary and secondary health services, problems with registering and accessing GP services, immunisation services, maternity care and mental health provision. The reasons for this have been variously attributed to discrimination, difficulties navigating the NHS, and a reluctance by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people to seek medical attention until their condition has become very serious.

Health Inequalities

  • Life expectancy 10 - 25 years lower
  • Low immunisation, high infant, child and maternal mortality
  • high chronic disease, high anxiety & depression, just as bad if housed
  • Lowest educational outcomes
  • Low adult literacy (under 40%)
  • Highest prejudice 35% (Stonewall, 2003)
  • Higher rates of suicide reported

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, especially Travelling families, tend to use emergency services such as A&E rather than any structured approach to healthcare, due to previous poor experiences. This leads to disrupted health provision and makes preventative care very difficult to administer. While some CCGs and NHS Trusts show excellent practice in catering for the needs of their Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, this is often localised and fragmented. We welcome the effective commissioning of health services to our communities; we aim to improve health outcomes for Gypsy Roma Travellers through the work that GATE Herts Task & Finish group and HCT are doing.   Together we will develop and promote opportunities for Gypsy and Traveller community members to identify and meet their own health needs. 

We support Gypsy and Traveller community members to overcome literacy and other barriers in order to access and effectively utilise primary and secondary health services.  These include GP’s, community healthcare, mental health services, drug and alcohol, domestic abuse, hospital trusts, and carer support, and end of life care.

We are particularly grateful to the HCT for establishing the trainee work experience programme with our youth Team at GATE. it’s a unique initiative and as far as we are aware the first of its kind in the UK.

 We will continue to work together with HCT ensure equal access into mainstream community based, CCG and hospital trust healthcare.

We believe that services should be accessible to all. It is not enough to rely on individuals who have the trust of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to deliver all their health services. We believe that the NHS Long Term Plan, can provide a useful vehicle for engagement and dissemination of public health messages to the Communities.