Emerging data suggests that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds may be disproportionately affected by Covid-19. We don’t yet know why this is, but Public Health England has launched an investigation.
While we await the outcome, we understand that you and your families may be feeling particularly anxious at this time. The NHS has asked all employers to assess staff at potentially greatest risk and make appropriate arrangements.
Early analysis suggests that some BAME groups may have a higher risk of certain diseases and conditions. Urban environments could be a factor, as many have higher than average BAME populations. The data might also reflect wider health, economic and social inequalities. It could be some or all of these factors, and we are pleased that an investigation has been launched so that further clarity can be provided.
What we already know is that people with an underlying health condition, such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, those on medication and the elderly are unfortunately more at risk from Covid-19.
At Barts Health we have long committed to improving the experience of our BAME staff. Our inclusion strategy aims to reduce health inequalities amongst our diverse east London population.
The health and wellbeing of our staff is extremely important to us and, in listening to the concerns and anxieties of our staff, we’re taking a number of precautionary measures to protect you. For example, in our operational response to managing the pandemic, we identified BAME communities as vulnerable groups. Our risk assessments have already helped us to introduce protective measures for staff that may be at increased risk of Covid-19. In listening to this early data, we are now including ethnicity within our staff risk assessments.
We provided additional guidance to our local Muslim communities as they celebrate Ramadan. Fasting can place a strain on the body, so if you have a health condition we would advise you to consider alternatives. Please spend #RamadanAtHome and read further advice provided by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
NHS services continue to provide urgent and emergency care. Please don’t hesitate to contact NHS 111 for advice if you or a member of your family is unwell. It’s important that you don’t delay seeking treatment. Our hospitals are safe and we are here to care for you.