Gypsy and Irish Travellers in Wigan more than twice as likely to have poor health
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The national charity Friends, Families and Travellers said trends across England and Wales where Gypsy and Irish Travellers are more than twice as likely to report poor health are a testament to "chronic exclusions" of the community from health care settings.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 245 people in Wigan said they were Gypsy or Irish Traveller in the 2021 Census. Of them, 38 said they had bad or very bad health – 16 per cent of the cohort.
Meanwhile, six per cent of the total population in the area reported poor health.
It meant the Gypsy and Irish Travellers community were 2.7 times as likely to be in poor health.
It follows trends across England and Wales, where 12.5 per cent of those who identified as Gypsy or Irish Travellers reported having bad or very bad health compared to 5.2 per cent of the overall population.
A spokesperson from Friends, Families and Travellers said: "Chronic exclusion from health and social care settings means that Romany Gypsy and Irish Traveller people experience the poorest health outcomes in the UK, and these findings are testament to that.
"Behind the numbers, there are generations of Gypsy and Traveller families grappling with a significantly reduced quality of life as poor health has a knock-on effect on education, employment and social opportunities.
"Health and social care providers must do more to ensure services are inclusive and able to support the needs of Gypsy and Traveller families."
Most people who identified as Gypsy or Irish Travellers reported being in good or very good health (72.3 per cent).
However, this percentage was lower than for the England and Wales population (82 per cent).
The ONS said that while health is related to age – with younger people more likely to report better health – those who identified as Gypsy or Irish Traveller had a younger age profile than the general population. Therefore, poorer health of this group cannot be explained by age.
In Wigan, 172 Gypsy or Irish Travellers said they were in good or very good health (70 per cent) while 35 were in fair health (14 per cent).