Coronavirus: Call for answers over ‘omitted’ BAME pages of report

By | June 13, 2020

The government is facing growing pressure to publish recommendations to protect black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people from Covid-19.

The British Medical Association is asking why pages with recommendations to safeguard BAME communities were “omitted” from a key report.

In a letter to the health secretary, the head of the doctors’ union called for them to be published immediately.

A recent review confirmed the risk of death is higher for ethnic minorities.

The BMA’s chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, CBE, said the outcome of the review should have included clear recommendations for action to tackle “the disturbing reality that the virus is causing disproportionate serious illness and deaths in the BAME community”.

In a letter to Matt Hancock, he wrote: “A clear response is needed as to why these pages and important recommendations were omitted from publication, especially when it is so critical that action is taken to save lives now and reduce race inequalities.”

On Thursday, a senior academic told the BBC that advice for the government on how to protect BAME communities from coronavirus had yet to be published.

Prof Raj Bhopal, a scientist who had been asked to peer-review the unpublished recommendations file, said parliament had “not been told the full truth”.

The review by Public Health England (PHE) found that people of Bangladeshi heritage were dying at twice the rate of white Britons, while other black, Asian and minority ethnic groups had between 10% and 50% higher risk of death.

PHE said the recommendations would be published next week at the same time that the work is submitted to ministers.

Meanwhile, ethnic minority doctors in the NHS have said they feel “let down” by delays in work to ensure they are protected from coronavirus.

The BMA said many had not received promised risk assessments and redeployment opportunities.

Hospital trusts and other health service bodies have been asked to prioritise risk assessments for BAME staff and other vulnerable groups. But BBC research has found that hundreds of doctors still have not had a risk assessment.

BBC News – Health