The Gypsy, Traveller, Boater, Showman and Roma Health Survey that many boaters took part in last year has been published. It was carried out for Bath and North East Somerset Health Authority by Margaret Greenfields and Liz Lowe of the Institute for Diversity Research, Inclusivity, Communities and Society at Buckinghamshire New University.
You can read and download the the full report by following this link
The report makes a number of recommendations that when implemented will improve access to health care for liveaboard boaters both with and without moorings. The report highlights the situation for liveaboard boaters that despite being entitled to register with a GP as a permanent patient without an address by using the surgery’s own address, many boaters have been denied the health care that they are entitled to due to a lack of awareness of this entitlement on the part of the GP surgery.
We publish below some extracts from the report:
Recommendations for Commissioners targeted at ‘professional’ staff: Registration with GP surgeries and access to primary care.
“Given the barriers to registration reported by a high percentage of mobile respondents (including those with children or long-term conditions) there is an urgent need to engage with surgeries over the issue of registration of GRT [Gypsy Roma Traveller]/Boater/Showmen populations as both temporary and permanent patients (potentially through emphasizing Duty of Care responsibilities). ”
“We would suggest that as a minimum recommendation that all coding should be entered to ensure that New Travellers and Boaters as well as Gypsies/Travellers and Showmen are entered as sub categories of a particular code to enable monitoring of prevalent health conditions/awareness of potential environmental health dangers. ”
“It may be that particular practices wish to apply for ‘enhanced service’ status in relation to Gypsy and Traveller (and Boater) groups following discussion with CCGs [Clinical Commissioning Groups]– a model utilized with great success in Leicestershire where levels of trust have been enhanced, immunization rates increased and rates of A&E use and emergency hospital admissions for these populations have decreased.”
“It is to be recommended that in line with Health Inclusion priorities practices which are known to have Gypsy/Traveller/Boater populations on their books in either a temporary or permanent basis should take the opportunity to undertake ‘outreach’ work and encourage health checks/screening, immunisations for a number of standardized conditions (e.g. cardio-vascular, BP, weight, diabetes etc.) as well as engaging (where possible) with communities/conditions outlined elsewhere in this report (see Table 7) and discussing with community members whether they require referrals/monitoring of other conditions. ”
“Midwifery services should be encouraged to review home birth policies and consider if these are flexible enough to offer home births to Travellers/Boaters where circumstances are safe. ”
“Guidance on the ‘postcode’ issue should be provided to surgeries (as well as other practitioners required to attend call-outs to site dwellers/boaters) to ensure that reliance on sat-navs and IT technology does not result in vulnerable individuals and families being denied care. ”
“Guidance is also urgently required on the use of ‘bridge numbers’ for attending/accessing patients on boats as well as open discussions on whether staff feel able to ‘cross gangplanks’ or enter onto sites – e.g. training on hazards and fears for professional staff. ”
“It is recommended that rather than rely on letters to contact patients which may be sent to ‘care of’ addresses, greater use is made of phone calls/personal visits and texts to contact GRT/Boaters.”
“Care should be taken to ensure that follow-up care (e.g. post hospital discharge) is provided to residents of sites/boaters and that awareness of ‘danger signs’ are understood as well as what actions should be taken.”
“Health Care providers should be alerted to the potential strengths of membership of GRT/Boater communities (see findings re: support when ill).”
“Terminal/Palliative care services – delivery of information and advice on GRT/Boater preferences for palliative care should be shared with care providers. Liaison and shared policy approaches should where possible be devised with agencies such as hospitals, hospices and the CRT in relation to delivery of care, and for boaters access to longer-term moorings and support for boaters with health conditions and long- term/terminal illness to support them in remaining at home or dying with dignity in their preferred environment.”
For more information contact the project leader: firstname.lastname@example.org