Practice guidance - Gypsies/Travellers

GP registration

The GP registration regulations apply equally to travelling and settled populations. A GP practice can only refuse an application if it has reasonable grounds for doing so which do not relate to the applicant’s race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or medical condition.

A patient does not need to be resident in a practice area to be accepted and the regulations specifically provide for applications from temporary residents who are moving from place to place. The regulations also provide for health boards to assign a patient to a GP practice as necessary.

Minor ailments

Gypsies/Travellers can access General Medical Services without being resident in a GP practice area and regulations specifically provide for applications from temporary residents and provide access to medical services for those who are moving from place to place.

The Minor Ailments Service (MAS) was introduced in 2006 as a service available to all who met set eligibility criteria and was seen as a positive step in helping address health inequalities and improving access to medicines. The Directions for MAS require that a person wishing to access the service must be registered with a GP practice in Scotland (GMS or PMS Sec 17C) but not as a temporary resident.

Hand Held Record

After consultation with Gypsies/Travellers, the Scottish Executive recommended the development of a portable health care record to improve their access to health care, particularly when they are travelling. NHS Health Scotland responded to the need by producing the Patient Hand Held Record, which has now been reviewed in the research Insight into the use of the Hand-Held Record and other methods of NHS engagement with Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland.

Early years outreach practice

A Save the Children guide to support early years practitioners working with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families; with transferable ideas for other outreach early years workers.

‘Gypsies and Travellers: Simple solutions for living together’ – a study

The Equality and Human Rights Commission briefing on Gypsy/Travellers includes recommendations for the Department of Health to establish targets to reduce the health inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers and to develop guidance and training for health authorities and practitioners.

Updated April 2015

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