Responding to the new Covid-19 Marmot Review1 which highlights the impact of the pandemic on health inequalities in England, BMA board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said:
“This is an important report which rightly recognises the need for addressing the longstanding health inequalities in this country which have been further exacerbated by the pandemic.
“With England’s Covid-19 excess death rate being the highest in Europe, our inability to withstand the pandemic as well as other comparable rich counties is an important lesson in the value of good public health.
“While there has been a clear need for restrictions in the last year as a result of the pandemic, it is important that moving forward, the Government seeks to mitigate the impact of those restrictions so that the most economically disadvantaged do not have to suffer disproportionately.
“The BMA has for a long time been calling for more to be done to address the systemic disadvantages experienced by those from ethnic minority backgrounds. The tragically high mortality rate for ethnic minority populations throughout Covid-19 is a stark indicator of the need to tackle this disparity and better address the link between deprivation and structural racism. Any future focus on health inequalities must look at the intersection of characteristics such as race, gender and disability to truly understand the causes and identify potential interventions.
“We strongly agree that, given the severity of the inequalities in this country, it is absolutely crucial that rather than returning to the damaging status-quo, we need to see progression. We support the recommendations in this report including the increase of early years funding, better working and living conditions, and an increase in public health spending as a vital component of overall healthcare prevention.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that in a country of such means there is such a strong divide between the richest and poorest in society. This report should serve as an important call to action for the Government to invest in the health of this nation in the long term as, in these challenging uncertain times, closing the gap has never been more important.”
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.
- For a copy of the report please contact Felicity Porritt - [email protected]; Tel: 07739419219