Gypsy, Traveller and Roma populations experience poorer health and face barriers to accessing health services compared with general populations. We report a UK-based consultation gathering professionals’ views on engagement and trust in health services in relation to these communities. The consultation combined closed and open questions, and was delivered using the Bristol Online Survey tool from May-July 2016. We aimed to include views of health and social care practitioners, civil sector organisations and policymakers. The survey link was circulated by email to professional networks, civil society organisations and project contacts, with an invitation to forward the link to additional colleagues; therefore this was a convenience sample. The results were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. There were 196 respondents to the consultation from a range of backgrounds within the target groups. The results of the consultation underlined the importance of trust in engaging communities in healthcare, with key factors including development of the relationship between healthcare worker and service user, and having confidence in services. Barriers to developing trust include lack of cultural competence of healthcare staff and health knowledge. Engagement barriers include discrimination and service users’ previous experiences. Approaches to enhancing engagement include community consultation, tailoring services, raising awareness, training staff and collaborative working. Additional resources may be required, including interpreting services and time to deliver care. The consultation results are useful for those working with or designing interventions for Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities, and more broadly for minority ethnic groups. They inform the next stages of this research: case studies of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma people’s use of health services; and stakeholder workshops exploring proposed policy options.
Trust is important in engaging Gypsies, Travellers and Roma in healthcare. While there are barriers, trust may be enhanced, including through the relationship between service users and staff.
There are barriers to engaging Gypsies, Travellers and Roma in healthcare. However engagement may be facilitated, including by tailoring services and working collaboratively.
- Health services