GP consortia (Latest Health Policy Developments)
FFT’s Health work
FFT remains extremely concerned about the difficulties faced by the Traveller community in accessing adequate and appropriate health care. Throughout the year, representatives from the Unit have dealt directly with a number of Travellers (predominantly traditional Travellers) with serious health needs that have either been disregarded by the authorities or inadequately addressed. Incidents include repeatedly missed pre-op appointments, repeated police eviction of one family group while their three year old son was receiving emergency treatment in the local hospital and the eviction of a woman from council land the day before entering hospital for a hysteroscopy. This type of problem is directly linked to lack of sufficient and secure site provision and low or zero tolerance policies by local authorities.
The FFT health team works to support Gypsies and Travellers in and around Sussex as well as campaigning and lobbying for improved health provision for Gypsies and Travellers at a policy level. We use our experience of local work to inform Government departments and Race Equality groups of the issues that we find.
The 2004 “Health Status of Travellers in England report” by Sheffield University accepted that life expectancy was between 10 and 12 years less than the settled population. It has now been accepted by the DoH that this figure is likely to be nearer 20 years less than the life expectancy for the rest of the population. We know that infant mortality is at least three times higher than the national average and that a Gypsy mother is twenty times more likely to experience the death of a child before they reach eighteen years of age. Recent research on suicide in Ireland has shown that Travellers are three times more likely to commit suicide; we suspect that it may be higher in England but without sufficient monitoring this is hard to quantify.
By Zoe Matthews
Health Strategy Manager, FFT
FFT Policy Statement on the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) is a comprehensive overview of the health and social care needs of the local population, put together by the Local Authority and the health services. Each locality has to produce one and it is used to design services for the local population. Put simply, it is a snapshot view of what the health and social care needs of a population are, and commissioners then use it to decide what services will be put in place. Friends, Families and Travellers have been working tirelessly to ensure that Gypsies and Travellers are included in the JSNAs. We are working with Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent and Medway, and Surrey, with respect to their JSNA. We are also campaigning on a national level for Gypsies and Travellers to systematically be included in the JSNA. Download the policy statement we have developed to support this work.
“GYPSIES AND TRAVELLERS IN LEEDS” – Making a Difference
An Exploratory Study on the Health Needs of Gypsies and Travellers.Â 23rd July 2001. Marianne Tavares with Travellers.
Read the full report here.
“The Health Status of Gypsy Travellers in England”: A report to the Department of Health, by the University of Sheffield, 2004.
For more, click here.
“The health of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK”: A Race EqualityÂ Foundation briefing paper, written by Zoe Matthews, 2008.
For more, click here.
For more health resources, click here.