Guardian report sheds further light on BAME health care issues


The Guardian has published new findings which suggest that six in 10 UK health workers killed by Covid-19 are BAME.

The findings which were sourced from news reports, information gathered from friends and families as well as news agencies and the site nursing notes, has found that men also make up a greater share of the number of health workers who have tragically passed.

These findings come after leading figures within NHS England acknowledged the need to take precautionary measures in protecting BAME health care workers. The end of April letter saw NHS bosses recommend that employers risk-assess staff that may be at greater risk. It highlighted the need for 'appropriate arrangements' which could extend as far as moving front line workers most at risk to mitigate their contact with patients.

The letter stated that:

'Emerging UK and international data suggest that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are also being disproportionately affected by Covid19. Public Health England have been asked by DHSC to investigate this. In advance of their report and guidance, on a precautionary basis we recommend employers should risk-assess staff at potentially greater risk and make appropriate arrangements accordingly.

The letter noted that the pressure on many NHS staff will 'remain unprecedented' but highlighted that increased testing capacity would lead to the introduction of testing for asymptomatic staff.

Initial steps elsewhere

Elsewhere within the UK, initial steps have been taken to remedy the matter. Yesterday the Welsh Government launched its strategy to combat the issue.

The strategy which was developed by the governments BAME Covid-19 Health advisory group has resulted in the development of a two-stage risk assessment, to help reduce the risk of catching the virus. The groundwork for the two-stage risk assessment began in April when First Minister Mark Drakeford launched an investigation into why BAME communities appeared to be at higher risk.

This assessment helps to provide some guidance as to whether people may or may not be at risk. It features a score based system determined by factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, existing health conditions, obesity and family history. These results will allow people who may be at increased risk to discuss adjustments to work arrangements which extends to working from home.

Judge Ray Singh who formed part of the advisory group said that the tool would "help to stop more workers and families going through the heartache as those brace workers who sacrificed their lives in protecting us all"

Public Pressure

The Guardian report also arrives after leading figures in the Labour party demanded greater urgency on the wider issue of safe working environments. Both Keir Starmer and Baroness Lawrence demanded 'swift action' and further workplace guidance as more people returned to work. This included extending NHS England's guidance regarding risk assessment and precautionary measures to 'all employers.'

As of now the 37,048 people in the UK have lost their lives to Covid-19.

Mayowa Ayodele