Traveller Community Health Strategy

17/10/2011

Belfast Trust has recently recruited two Traveller Liaison Workers. The employment of these workers, who are both from the Traveller Community, represents an enormous step forward in the implementation of our Traveller Health Strategy which was launched recently.

The Liaison Workers will work under the guidance of a dedicated Traveller Social Worker and Health Visitor. They will work across the areas of Family and Childcare, Mental Health, Maternity and Acute Services raising awareness of Traveller culture and health needs. They will also have a central role in the implementation of our Travellers Health Strategy.

Belfast Trust and its legacy organisations have a long and distinguished track record in working with service users, communities and target groups to improve health and well being and reduce inequalities.

This strategy is not an end point but the beginning of a process that will see Belfast Trust, through their Traveller Health Strategy Board, set in motion a series of actions that will help tackle the health inequalities faced by the Traveller community.

Read the Traveller Strategy

Bernie McNally, Director of Social and Primary Care said,

‘Although the BHSCT Strategy was originally penned in 2010, following a consultation exercise with the Traveller community, it is only now, with the recruitment of the Liaison Workers that it can be formally launched. The Health Strategy has been updated to take into account recent changes within the Trust and the good work that has already been undertaken with the Traveller Community’.

The Key elements of BHSCT Traveller Health Strategy are:

  • To establish current level of service provision within the Traveller Community
  • To increase access to Trust Services and facilities
  • To increase cultural awareness and understanding
  • To increase awareness and promote better understanding of the health needs of Travellers amongst Trust staff
  • To develop appropriate training for people from the Traveller community to support the development of increased awareness of Trust services and how to access them
  • To support the development of closer working relationships between the health improvement department and the Traveller community
  • To increase access to a range of health promotion activities and programmes within the Traveller community
  • To develop a range of initiatives to support improvements in mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • To develop opportunities for job shadowing and mentorship within the Trust
  • To engage with OFMDFM / Public Health Agency to ensure the initiation of a multi-agency group to address the needs of the Traveller community

Belfast Trust is committed to improving health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities. It is hoped that Strategy for Improving Traveller Health and Wellbeing will be the impetus for strengthening our work with the Traveller community to achieve this goal.