Speaking following the publication of Public Health England’s report “Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups”, College President Professor Jackie Taylor welcomed the report, and called on government to quickly develop plans to implements the recommendations.
“We welcome the publication of this report as a vital step forward on understanding how COVID-19 is impacting on our black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and colleagues, and how we address this.
“What the report makes clear once again is the clear link between underlying inequality in our society and health outcomes. That’s why it’s important to reiterate our college’s commitment to work with others to address inequality in order to improve patient health. This remains a fundamental building block to improved health outcomes for all.
“We also recognise the evidence which was gathered by the authors which highlighted racism and discrimination experienced by communities, and more specifically by BAME key workers, as a root cause affecting health, and exposure risk and disease progression risk.
“We are particularly concerned by the evidence detailed in the report which states that there has been a “fundamental break in trust” between BAME staff working in health and care services and employers around the support provided to them during this pandemic. It’s unacceptable that BAME staff feel that measures to improve the provision of PPE and to mitigate risk to healthcare workers “were not applied equally across ethnic groups”. Employers must ensure that robust risk assessments for all health and care staff are carried out and acted upon to protect the health and safety of this group of staff.
“Finally, we welcome the recommendations which have been made by this report to collect better data on this vital issue, to develop improved tools and campaigns to better support BAME communities and individuals and to improve access to health services for those in these at-risk groups.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has not created health inequalities in the UK, but it has highlighted them at a critical time. It’s because these social injustices are long-established that’s it’s now essential that governments across the UK quickly develop robust plans to implement these recommendations, and commit to tackling wider health inequalities as a matter of national importance.”