Objectives: To evaluate the current state of health of the Irish Travelling community in the UK and review it with respect to the settled population. This will include assessing physical and mental health and trying to get an understanding of the effects that their social background and role in society has on that.
Method: NHS Evidence (http://www.evidence.nhs.uk/) was used to search the following databases: AMED, BINAL, CINAHL, EMBASE, Health Business Elite, Medline (Pubmed), PsycINFO. The FADE library and www.google.com were also used as research tools. The aim was to provide a number of journal articles and other resources to enable as comprehensive a literature review of the state of the health of the Irish Travelling community as possible, to aid the background report and conclusions made. One article was reviewed in detail for the purposes of this paper.
Results: Travellers report a poorer health status and are, “more likely to report long term illness, health problem or disability which limits their daily activities or work” when compared to other groups. They are also more likely to report suffering from symptoms such as chest pain and respiratory problems. There are no obvious differences when looking at Diabetes, Stroke or Cancer. Travellers are heavier smokers and drinkers compared to the settled population and there is a disparity in education.
Conclusion: The literature suggests that there are major health inequalities related to Travellers. They are, health-wise, 20-30 years behind the majority of the settled population. Travellers live on average 10 years less than the settled population with an infant mortality rate much greater than that of the settled population