Objective: To provide the first valid and reliable estimate of the health status of Gypsies and Travellers in England by using standardised instruments to compare their health with that of a UK resident non-Traveller sample, drawn from different socioeconomic and ethnic groups, matched for age and sex.
Design: Epidemiological survey, by structured interview, of quota sample and concurrent age-sex-matched comparators.
Setting: The homes or alternative community settings of the participants at five study locations in England.
Participants: Gypsies and Travellers of UK or Irish origin (n = 293) and an age-sex-matched comparison sample (n = 260); non-Gypsies or Travellers from rural communities, deprived inner-city White residents and ethnic minority populations.
Results: Gypsies and Travellers reported poorer health status for the last year, were significantly more likely to have a long-term illness, health problem or disability, which limits daily activities or work, had more problems with mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain or discomfort and anxiety or depression as assessed using the EuroQol-5D health utility measure, and a higher overall prevalence of reported chest pain, respiratory problems, arthritis, miscarriage and premature death of offspring. No inequality was reported in diabetes, stroke and cancer.
Conclusions: Significant health inequalities exist between the Gypsy and Traveller population in England and their non-Gypsy counterparts, even when compared with other socially deprived or excluded groups, and with other ethnic minorities.