Health Services: Travellers

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 23rd January 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Whitaker Baroness Whitaker Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the commitment to address health inequalities in the NHS Long Term Plan, published on 10 January, what steps they intend to take to tackle the health inequalities experienced by members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Photo of Baroness Manzoor Baroness Manzoor Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

During 2019 all local health systems will be expected to set out how they will reduce health inequalities by 2023/24 and 2028/29 including, where applicable, for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.

We are reviewing the collection of data within the National Health Service and working closely with NHS England to complete a scoping exercise to understand how information on protected characteristics is gathered in existing NHS datasets. The Department plans to complete an initial assessment later this year, which will form the basis for future decision-making on NHS data collection by ethnicity.

NHS England has produced guidance for general practices clarifying rights of patients and responsibilities of providers in registering with a general practitioner. It also co-produced a leaflet for members of the GRT communities on how to register. These will be kept under review.

The Department of Health and Social Care is also working closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education on six community-led pilot projects, two of which are looking to improve health outcomes for GRT communities.

The Government commissioned research from the universities of Dundee and York examining how trust in healthcare services could be enhanced amongst Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The report, Enhancing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller peoples’ trust: using maternity and early years’ health services and dental health services as exemplars of mainstream service provision, was published in September 2018. It has made eight key recommendations to the health sector and other key providers, which include increasing collaborative working with those that already have trusted relationships with GRT communities e.g. individuals from third sector organisations, individual health or other sector professionals; and suggested the introduction of literacy help-cards throughout the NHS. These are cards that can be presented to front line staff or receptionists to ask for discreet help with form-filling. A copy of the report is attached.

Report_on_GRT_health.pdf (PDF Document, 10.93 MB)

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