The British Medical Association says that the Government’s review into the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities must be informed by real-time data collection if it is to have real effect.
The review, announced today, follows BMA pressure on the Government to urgently investigate why people from BAME communities are being disproportionately affected by the virus. This includes healthcare workers, with the overwhelming majority of those who have died being from BAME communities.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
'We are pleased that the Government has heeded the BMA’s call for this review. However, if the review is to have any meaningful impact, it needs to be informed with real-time data to understand why and how this deadly virus can have such a tragic disproportionate toll on our BAME communities and healthcare workers. This must include daily updates on ethnicity, circumstance and all protected characteristics of all patients in hospital as well as levels of illness in the community, which is not currently recorded.
'The Government must take every necessary step to address this devastating disparity and protect all sectors of the population equally and now. That is why the Government must send a directive to every hospital telling them to record the ethnicity of patients who are admitted and succumb to COVID-19 immediately.
'It also means taking vital steps now to protect our BAME communities until we can develop a detailed understanding of the threats they face. This could include that those at greatest risk, including older and retired doctors, are not working in potentially infectious settings.
'A failure to take such steps will mean that the heart-breaking questions of the families, friends and colleagues of those who have died before their time will remain. We stand ready to play our part, to fight this inequality, and help protect all doctors and health and care staff.'
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.
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