‘We need action now’: BMA says PHE review into impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities is a missed opportunity

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Tuesday 2 June 2020

Responding to Public Health England’s review of the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities, published today1, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:

“The BMA first called for a review at the beginning of April in order to understand why there were such disproportionate deaths and serious illnesses in BAME healthcare workers and in the community, and so that action could be taken protect them. Two months later, this report is a missed opportunity.

“It is a statistical analysis, which while important, gets us no closer towards taking action that avoids harm to BAME communities.

“More specifically, the report fails to mention the staggering higher proportion of BAME healthcare workers who have tragically died from Covid-19 – with more than 90% of doctors being from BAME backgrounds. The report has also missed the opportunity for looking at occupational factors; the BMA was clear we needed to understand how job roles, exposure to the virus and availability of PPE were risk factors.

“The BMA and the wider community were hoping for a clear action plan to tackle the issues, not a re-iteration of what we already know. We need practical guidance, particularly in relation to how healthcare workers and others working in public-facing roles will be protected.

“With the global conversation so focused on inequalities and discrimination it is for the Government to instill confidence that all people will be protected equally. We need action, and we need action now.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union 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. Full report available here.
  2. Read the BMA's submission to PHE here.

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