Gypsy Traveller Report Published
The Equal Opportunities Committee – of which I am a member – today published the report of its findings into the living conditions and access to health and social care of Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland.
The report makes for uncomfortable reading; the various reports and initiatives over recent decades have had little impact on the living conditions of Gypsy/Traveller communities. Recommendations have not been implemented, and myth, prejudice and stigma remain a widespread problem.
The evidence sessions which formed the basis of the report revealed some shocking truths about the treatment of Gypsy/Traveller communities. The committee learned that many encampments are poorly situated and badly resourced, with minimal access to amenitities and public services.
More worrying still were accounts of Gypsy/Travellers being refused appointments with GP surgeries.
In light of the findings of this report, which I believe will make for disturbing reading for people throughout society, I stand alongside the other members of the Committee in calling upon the Scottish Government to take the strategic lead in making swift and decisive changes that will effect a significant improvement in the lives of Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland.
Access to social care and associated public services must be universal – no section of society excluded on grounds of ethnicity, religion, or lifestyle.
This is – or should be – a prerequisite for any civilized society.