A series of reports over the last two decades have concluded that the overall health status of UK Gypsy Traveller Community is very poor when compared with the general population and relatively poor in comparison with other disadvantaged groups. Despite a government commitment to reducing health inequalities, differences in health outcomes and in healthcare access and service provision have persisted.Methods
In order to understand immunization services for Gypsy Travellers, the Health Protection Agency conducted a survey and mapping exercise of Primary Care Trusts in England to ascertain what is known about local Gypsy Traveller populations, estimate immunizations rates and describe current services to increase immunization as well as to address wider health issues.Results
Despite improvements in the provision of specialist services for the Gypsy Traveller communities in England, there still remains a considerable number of areas where knowledge of population numbers is poor, service provision is not based on need and the uptake of immunization is low or not known.Conclusion
There is an ongoing need to improve knowledge of population numbers and the provision of and access to services that are culturally sensitive and responsive to the needs of Gypsy Traveller communities. Whilst we have focused on describing immunization uptake, immunization services are only one component of a wider strategy for improving the health of Gypsy Travellers through effective health and social care interventions.