Personal health records for Gypsies-Travellers

14. 10. 2005

(Scottish Executive News)

A hand-held patient record for Gypsies/Travellers which aims to improve the continuity of care of travelling communities was launched today. The Patient Record of Personal Health will allow Gypsies/Travellers to have complete and detailed medical information with them at all times.

The record is an A5 booklet which can be referred to and updated by health professionals whenever medical advice or treatment is sought. The new patient record has been designed through collaboration between Gypsy/Traveller communities and the National Resource Centre for Ethnic Minority Health ( NRCEMH ).

Health Minister Andy Kerr said: "We are committed to improving the health of people in Scotland and tackling health inequalities. This new record is one way of helping make sure that people in travelling communities do not slip through the net. "The hand-held record will ensure that wherever individuals are they will have their up to date medical records. This will improve communication throughout their contact with the health service and enable healthcare professionals to deliver effective treatment quickly."

Deputy Communities Minister Johann Lamont said: "We are improving the lives of Gypsy/Travellers, and the health record goes a long way to ensuring people can access the most appropriate treatments wherever they are in the country. "This is just one part of our broader work to make sure we meet the differing needs of Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland."

Rafik Gardee, the Director of NRCEMH, said: "Our pilot action research suggests that NHS Boards generally face a considerable challenge in improving access to health services for Gypsies/Travellers. We believe that the hand-held record can make a real difference in terms of meeting this challenge."

Martha Kennedy, Chair of the NRCEMH Gypsy/Traveller Steering Group and herself a Gypsy/Traveller, welcomed the launch, saying: "This is an important step in addressing the health care needs of Gypsy/Traveller communities."