Medical organisations unite to call for urgent Government action to protect BAME colleagues on Covid-19 frontline

by BMA media team

BMA press release from the BMA 

Location: England
Published: Friday 5 June 2020

The BMA co-ordinated a meeting today with representatives from thirteen Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), International Medical Graduate and faith-based medical organisations1 to discuss the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BAME doctors and medical students.  

All groups involved expressed deep disappointment at the recent PHE2 review and its complete failure to look at the reasons behind the disproportionate deaths of BAME healthcare workers or offer any recommendations.

The meeting called for urgent government action to better protect BAME doctors and medical students and emphasised the need for robust risk assessments, sufficient provision of PPE, and comprehensive data to be collected about occupational factors that may put healthcare workers at risk.  This must be accompanied by work – immediately and in the longer-term – to end systemic discrimination and structural inequalities in the NHS and develop inclusive cultures where all doctors feel safe to raise concerns.

There was collective agreement that it is critical that the government better engages with BAME doctors and communities and the groups involved are publicly extending a joint meeting invitation to the Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch.  The loss of so many of our BAME and IMG colleagues and the impacts on the wider BAME population has been devastating, we can spur the government action that is desperately needed.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “The PHE review failed to provide any answers as to why Covid-19 is having such a catastrophic impact on BAME healthcare workers – and crucially offered no recommendations on how to protect them right now.

“The BMA, along with all of the organisations in attendance today, is calling on the Government to take urgent action to protect our BAME colleagues on the frontline, and to work with us so that any further review has the confidence of BAME communities, doctors and healthcare workers and provides tangible solutions that prevent any more losing their lives while fighting the pandemic on the front line.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. The organisations in attendance:

Association of Pakistani Physicians of Northern Europe

African Caribbean Medical Mentors

British Association of Cardiologists of Indian Origin

British International Doctors’ Association

British Islamic Medical Association

Cameroonian Doctors UK

Jewish Medical Association

Kings College London African Caribbean Medical Association

Melanin Medics

Muslim Doctors Association

Nigerian Doctors UK

Religious Equality Forum

British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin

  1. Read the BMA’s response to the PHE review here.

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