Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Month

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02 / 6 / 2015 1.24pm

Every June, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities come together for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month to celebrate who they are and where they come from. Established in Britain in 2008, the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month is a way of raising awareness of these communities and their contributions to society while also challenging the negative stereotyping and prejudice that the communities face. 


Key points for the NHS

  • Gypsies and Travellers are a small but significant group who continue to suffer from poor health and lower life expectancy.
  • A research study, published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2009, presents evidence of Gypsies' and Travellers' experiences of inequalities in a wide range of areas and has highlighted the extent to which many of their experiences remain invisible and ignored within wider agendas (Cemlyn et al 2009, p.252). The report covers the experiences of Gypsies and Travellers in England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Research also shows that the health of Gypsies and Travellers starts to deteriorate markedly when individuals are over 50. (Richardson, J. Bloxom, J. & Greenfield, M. (2007) East Kent Sub regional Gypsy and Traveller accommodation assessment report (2007-12). Leicester De Montfort University.
  • Gypsies and Travellers are reported to be more likely to visit accident and emergency departments than a GP because of a lack of trust of some GP surgeries. (Social Exclusion Task Force research (2009))
  • Barriers to health care access were experienced, with several contributory causes, including reluctance of GPs to register Travellers or visit sites, practical problems of access whilst travelling, mismatch of expectations between travellers and health staff, and attitudinal Barriers. (Parry G., Van Cleemput C. et al, The Health Status of Gypsies and Travellers in England, The University of Sheffield, October 2004.)

Key facts

  • Gypsies are people who may be of English, Welsh or Scottish descent, and who have Romany ancestry. ‘Gypsy’ has a specific meaning for planning purposes. Travellers include Irish and Scottish travellers, nomadic ethnic groups with a separate identity, culture, language and history.
  • Britain's 300,000 Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have lived, worked and travelled throughout Britain for over 500 years.
  • Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are legally recognised as ethnic groups, and protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act (1976, amended 2000) and the Human Rights Act (1998). In addition they are protected in line with the Equality Act 2010.
  • In the past, Gypsies have not been included in the census so information is limited but their inclusion in the 2011 census will provide more accurate data.

Further information

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