Today, with the World Health Organization, we celebrate the 70th annual World Health Day. This year the theme is Universal Healthcare Coverage. The underpinning principle of this is that healthcare should be available to everyone, without discrimination. Sadly, not all UK citizens have access to the same standards of healthcare. On this day, we wish to highlight the progress that still needs to be made to address health inequalities experienced in the UK by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are known to face some of the most severe health inequalities and poor life outcomes amongst the United Kingdom population, even when compared with other ethnic minorities. It is estimated that Gypsies and Travellers life expectancy is between ten and 25 years shorter than the average population (1); there are lower rates of immunisation; higher rates of infant, child and maternal mortality; higher rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues (2).
On this World Health Day, we are calling on the government to demonstrate their commitment to the provision of health for all by creating a plan to reduce health inequalities experienced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
Speaking on World Health Day, Zoe Matthews, Co-Director at Friends, Families and Travellers said:
“The fact that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities experience such shocking health inequalities reflects the government’s failure to effectively commission services for vulnerable communities and the slow progress which is being made to improve the wider social determinants of health, including accommodation, education and income. We are calling on the government to create a cross-departmental plan to put an end to health inequalities experienced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Without a plan of action, with measurable deliverables, we fear that little progress will be made.”
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background. Friends, Families and Travellers is a member of the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance.
Sarah Sweeney – Office hours Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm
Tel: 07963 382 190 Email: [email protected]
- Department for Communities and Local Government (2012): Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers.
- Parry, G. et al. (2004): The Health Status of Gypsies and Travellers in England. University of Sheffield.