Health status of Gypsies and Travellers in England
- 1School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
- 2School of Healthcare, Baines Wing, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
- Correspondence to: Professor G Parry School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Regent Court, 30 Regent Street, Sheffield S1 4DA, UK;
- Accepted 15 August 2006
Objective: To provide the first valid and reliable estimate of the health status of Gypsies and Travellers in England by using standardised instruments to compare their health with that of a UK resident non-Traveller sample, drawn from different socioeconomic and ethnic groups, matched for age and sex.
Design: Epidemiological survey, by structured interview, of quota sample and concurrent age–sex-matched comparators.
Setting: The homes or alternative community settings of the participants at five study locations in England.
Participants: Gypsies and Travellers of UK or Irish origin (n = 293) and an age–sex-matched comparison sample (n = 260); non-Gypsies or Travellers from rural communities, deprived inner-city White residents and ethnic minority populations.
Results: Gypsies and Travellers reported poorer health status for the last year, were significantly more likely to have a long-term illness, health problem or disability, which limits daily activities or work, had more problems with mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain or discomfort and anxiety or depression as assessed using the EuroQol-5D health utility measure, and a higher overall prevalence of reported chest pain, respiratory problems, arthritis, miscarriage and premature death of offspring. No inequality was reported in diabetes, stroke and cancer.
Conclusions: Significant health inequalities exist between the Gypsy and Traveller population in England and their non-Gypsy counterparts, even when compared with other socially deprived or excluded groups, and with other ethnic minorities.
↵i Health visitors work closely with family doctors (general practitioners) in England. They are community nurses trained in child development and social aspects of health and disease, who are notified of all mothers who have given birth in their area. They typically visit the family at home one month after childbirth to assess their health and social-care needs. They are the only community practitioners who routinely visit homes and focus on ill health prevention for all families.
Funding: Funding was received from the Department of Health. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health.
Competing interests: None.