NHS film tackles health inequality among Traveller men

NHS film tackles health inequality among Traveller men

AN NHS trust has created a special health information film aimed at improving the life expectancy among men in the Traveller and Gypsy community.

The short production, which features testimony by Travellers Bobby and Richard O’Neill, is aimed at raising awareness of the lower life expectancy of Traveller men and the high incidences of depression, diabetes and heart disease found among them.

“I took part in the film so that there would something out there for the men,” Bobby O’Neill admits.

“There is lots out there for Traveller women, but nothing for Traveller men,” the 64-year-old added.

“This film will help teach the men what to look out for – the symptoms that will help you to spot if you have a problem before you get the diagnosis. If you can do that then you are going a long way to helping yourself.”

In the piece Mr O’Neill, a Traveller who has moved across Britain over many years, reveals he has suffered from depression and anxiety, has insulin-controlled diabetes and previously suffered a heart attack which meant having stints put into his heart.

“I want to talk mainly about the heart attack and the angina,” he states, “what it does to you and what you can look out for.”

The film, entitled Looking after Mandi, was produced by the O’Neill Travellers, with funding from the NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group.

It was developed as a partnership between Nottinghamshire Healthcare and the charity NAVO, with the support of the Nottinghamshire Gypsy and Traveller Health Partnership Group.

“Research has found that the life expectancy of Gypsy and Traveller men is approximately ten years lower than that of men in the wider community,” a Nottinghamshire Healthcare spokesperson explained.

“There are a variety of reasons for this; one of which has been identified as a lack of information within the Travelling communities of the signs and symptoms of major conditions, in addition to a reluctance to visit GPs or other medical practitioners, as a result of previous personal and community experiences,” they added.

Catherine Conchar, the Trust’s Head of Equality and Diversity, said:  “This DVD is an example of Nottinghamshire’s health communities reaching out to our Gypsy and Traveller communities, demonstrating that their health and wellbeing really does matter to us.”

She added: “The Trust is really proud to be part of this innovative work and it has been a privilege to work with members of the local Traveller community and partnership organisations on this project.”

View the video below