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General Practitioners: Travellers

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Whitaker Baroness Whitaker Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps have been taken to address concerns raised by the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, that Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities are frequently refused registration at GP practices.

Photo of Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Registering with and access to primary medical care services is the same for all patients, whether they are gypsies, travellers, homeless or vulnerable migrants. People do not need to provide proof of address to register with a general practice (GP). NHS England is working with a range of community groups to redesign the patient registration leaflet so that people are aware of this when registering. The free NHS 111 service can assist anyone who has faced difficulty finding a GP or accessing other services in their local area.

NHS England is aware of difficulties some individuals have faced when trying to register with a GP and is taking steps to address shortcomings with individual practices, working in partnership with the voluntary sector.

The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Health and Wellbeing Alliance is a partnership arrangement with the aim to facilitate integrated working between the voluntary and statutory sectors, to promote equality and reduce health inequalities. It receives £1.2 million for core work from the Department, with each member receiving funding of up to £60,000. Friends, Families and Travellers is a member of the Alliance and has supported the Department on a range of work to date including the Inclusion Health Audit Tool, on maternal health, mental health, end of life care and dementia.

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