Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Health
This is our information for people from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities visiting, living or travelling through Somerset. Here, you will find information to ensure that you stay healthy and can access the services you need, whether you live here or are passing through.
You can find information about health services available in Somerset that you can access during your stay here or if you are settled here. You will also find links to other services available to you from local and national providers.
We work with Somerset County Council, Somerset’s Gypsy Liaison Service, Traveller Education, District Councils, Devon & Somerset Fire Service, Avon & Somerset Police, and many others to ensure that you have a safe, healthy and enjoyable visit in Somerset.
If you would like to get in touch, you can use the following contacts:
Gypsy Liaison Officer and Traveller Education (Somerset West)
Telephone: 07811 307748
Gypsy Liaison Officer and Traveller Education (Somerset East)
Telephone: 07917 791965
Quality & Equality Officer at NHS Somerset
Telephone: 07926 093782
Urgent and Emergency Care
If you have an immediate life threatening condition, call 999. For further information on when to call 999, click here to visit the NHS website.
If you are not sure of your location, and you have an Android smartphone or Apple iPhone, you can install for free the What3Words App. This will generate three words that can be given to the ambulance service to enable them to pinpoint your location to within 3 metres. Click here to find out more about this service.
If you have a medical need that is urgent but not life-threatening and would like advice around your best options, you can call NHS111 for free from any telephone. Alternatively, you can visit NHS 111 online to be assessed. They may tell you to contact a GP during normal opening times, direct you to your nearest Minor Injury Unit, ask you to go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department, visit a pharmacy or arrange for an Out of Hours Doctor to visit you. If they consider your condition to be an emergency, they can also arrange for an ambulance on your behalf.
Somerset has seven Minor Injury Units (MIUs). You can visit your local MIU without an appointment. Details of each of these can be found here, including what they can help you with, when they are open and their locations.
There are two Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments in Somerset. One is located at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and the other is at Yeovil District Hospital in Yeovil. Click here for more details of the A&E Department at Musgrove Park Hospital or click here for more information about the A&E Department at Yeovil District Hospital.
If you have a non-serious medical need, it will be quick and easy to get advice from a pharmacist local to you.
Pharmacists can help you with a host of ailments, from minor health illnesses, aches and pains, to coughs and colds. You can also ask them for guidance around:
- ear aches
- cystitis rashes
- childhood illnesses
- emergency contraception
- long term condition advice
- self help
- help with your medicines.
Click here to read more about the wide-ranging services you can access through Somerset’s pharmacies.
If the pharmacist feels you need further treatments or support, they are well placed to ensure you are sent to the right person to meet your health needs.
Click here to access the NHS “Find a Pharmacy” service which will detail your nearest open pharmacy.
Accessing a GP (Primary Care)
If you are currently in Somerset and need to see a GP, you can ask for a temporary resident’s appointment, even if you are registered elsewhere or not a UK citizen. You do not need to provide proof of:
- Address, e.g. Utility Bill, Bank Statement, etc.
- Identification, e.g. Driving Licence, Passport, etc.
- Residency, e.g. Immigration Status, etc.
You can use the NHS Somerset website to locate your nearest GP. Click here for more information.
If you are having trouble registering with a GP, click here to learn about the GP Access Card initiative. This provides information about your right to access a local doctor.
Accessing Midwives and Health Visitors
If you are currently pregnant or have a new baby, you can access local midwives and health visitors. There are two main midwifery services in the county. One at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and one at Yeovil District Hospital in Yeovil. These services also manage other Midwife-Led services around the county.
Click here to see contact details for the Musgrove Park Hospital Team.
Click here to see contact details for the Yeovil District Hospital Team.
Note that if you are in the North East of the county (Frome area) your local Midwife-Led service (run by Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust) is at Frome Community Hospital. Click here to find their contact details.
If you have a new-born, you can access Somerset’s Health Visiting Service. This service is provided by Somerset County Council and not the NHS. They provide local teams of Health Visitors who can support you with your baby or young child. Click here to see a list of contact numbers for your local team. If you are not sure which is your nearest, they should be able to direct you to your local team or call one of the contacts above for guidance.
Sexual Health Service in Somerset are provided by Somerset Wide Integrated Sexual Health (SWISH) Services. SWISH can help people of any age who have concerns about their sexual health and you can refer yourself; there is no need to request a referral from a GP or other medical practitioner. Click here to find out more about their services, such as STI testing, contraception and sexual health information, along with their contact details. SWISH is run by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.
If you are in severe dental pain or discomfort, and cannot access a local dentist, you can be seek advice from Somerset’s Dental Advice Line. They can advise you on the best treatment and dental care. This service is run by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. Note that there may sometimes be a charge for the treatments that they offer. However, there is no charge for seeking their advice. Click here to find out more about their services and locations.
Somerset Gypsy Liaison Service
Somerset has two Gypsy Liaison Officers who are available to support you. Their contact details are above. Alternatively, you can visit their Facebook page. Click here to view this now.
Other links to external organisations
Below are some organisations that might be able to provide you with further support and information.
Friend, Families and Travellers
Friends, Families and Travellers is a national organisation working on behalf of all Gypsies, Travellers and Roma. They aim to:
- end racism and discrimination against Gypsies, Travellers and Roma
- protect the right to live a nomadic life
They promote health and wellbeing, contribute to research and policy making and deliver training.
Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain
The Showmen’s Guild protects the interests of travelling showmen who earn their living by working at funfairs.
The Traveller Movement
The Traveller Movement is a national charity committed to protecting the human rights of ethnic minority Gypsy Roma and Traveller people.
Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI)
Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI) gives free and confidential support to victims of racial harassment in Somerset.
Travellers’ Pride is a community organisation run by members of the GRT communities for people within the communities who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and/or Trans (LGBT+).
One Call Away
One Call Away is a helpline set up by Romany Gypsy brother and sister, Caroline and Mark, to provide confidential support around depression and suicidal thoughts in the Gypsy and Traveller communities. You do not need a referral from a GP or other clinician to contact this service.