Evaluation of a Gypsy/Traveller Community Health Worker service: Final Report

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Abstract

This report evaluates the two-year Community Health Worker (CHW) service in Scotland delivered by a third sector organisation, Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project (MECOPP), which provided training to Gypsy/Travellers to advocate for their community on health and social care issues. The service, which was created as part of the Scottish Government and COSLA's joint action plan to address inequalities faced by Gypsy/Travellers , was designed with the intention to improve their health and wellbeing. Funding for the service was secured by The Scottish Public Health Network and the Directorate for Chief Medical Officer. The evaluation was conducted by the Mother and Infant Research Unit (MIRU) at the School of Health Sciences, University of Dundee, and covered the initial two-year period from August 2021 to August 2023.

There has been extensive evidence showing that Gypsy/Travellers residing in the UK tend to face significant health disparities, resulting in outcomes that are not as favourable as those of the general population and other similarly disadvantaged groups.

Gypsy/Travellers face high rates of homelessness, inadequate education, unemployment, poverty, and regular experiences of racism and discrimination . This profoundly affects their mental health and overall well-being. Additionally, the potential for lack of trust between Gypsy/Travellers and healthcare professionals impacts health seeking behaviour and health service provision, as there are also barriers in accessing responsive health services and preventative care interventions.

Evidence indicates that community-based lay roles can improve healthcare access, reduce costs, and promote knowledge exchange between communities and health services through trusted individuals . This project aimed to evaluate the implementation of the Gypsy/Traveller CHW service, including barriers and facilitators, and make recommendations for its future scale-up. Objectives included describing the roles and activities of the CHWs, exploring the acceptability and feasibility of the service, identifying implementation barriers and facilitators, describing any modifications made, and examining the perceived benefits and disadvantages of the CHW service.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDundee
PublisherUniversity of Dundee
Number of pages82
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

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