This April we launch a two-year outreach programme to improve the health of local Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.
The project, which is the first Surrey-wide GRT health initiative, has been commissioned by Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership.
The new project will be delivered by a specialist GRT team, lead by Lisa Gavin, 0-19 Homeless Health Lead. Lisa said: "We are thrilled to be expanding our GRT health advocacy and outreach programme to the rest of Surrey. The team will build on our existing relationships with local Traveller communities and develop new connections so we can provide support and care to GRT communities, who typically have less contact with NHS services and their health needs and outcomes can be different to other local people."
The specialist GRT health team will also provide training to other healthcare staff so they too can support Traveller communities. "Sharing our specialist knowledge with other healthcare professionals and working closely with partners, including Surrey Heartlands maternity services, is a key part of this project and will help to improve health outcomes for the local GRT community now and in the future", Lisa added.
The outreach project builds on the success of a recent GRT health improvement project carried out in the east of Surrey which provided care and support to GRT communities in east Surrey in innovative new ways.
Surrey has the fourth largest GRT population of any UK county with the population estimated at around 10,000-12,000. Research continues to show life expectancy is lower for GRT people and their health needs are not fully met by traditional NHS services.