Thomas, Erin

Thomas, Erin
Start date:
October 2022
Research Topic:
The Right to Health in Welsh Gypsy, Romani and Travelling Communities
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor John Harrington
Supervising school:
School of Law and Politics,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship
External Sponsor:
Public Health Wales

COVID-19 has had undeniable impacts on the wider aspects of health and wellbeing for people from marginalised/excluded communities. Understanding the lived experiences of COVID-19 for such communities will have a wide impact on supporting the progressive realisation of human rights in Wales, ensuring that we ‘build back better’ for all communities. The Welsh Travelling community are a community historically underrepresented and marginalised by governments and other political bodies due to their cultural practices and nomadic lifestyle. My research is designed to scope the potential reasons behind barriers to access to healthcare within the Welsh Travelling community, taking into consideration COVID-19 and in particular COVID-19 vaccinations. My key research question is: are the Rights to Health of Welsh Travellers impeded by barriers to access?

The project will look at 5 dimensions of access:
• Availability – whether a healthcare service or product is available in the healthcare system of a country
• Affordability – whether seeking healthcare causes financial hardship
• Accessibility– whether there are barriers, other than financial (e.g., waiting lists, geographical barriers…), that stop patients from accessing healthcare
• Adequacy – the quality of healthcare and involvement of patients in shared decision making with their healthcare professionals
• Appropriateness – whether healthcare meets the need of different groups in the population

This study will look at the wider contextual, cultural issues which feed into the Right to Health within the Welsh Travelling community, further considering how Welsh health agencies have engaged with the Travelling community in an effort to target discrimination and health inequalities in line with our human rights framework.