By Rachael Grealish
A leaked Public Health England (PHE) review has found ‘racism, discrimination and social inequalities’ have all added to the impact of COVID-19 on people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
The report, obtained by Sky News, stated ‘exposed long standing inequalities’ has been a factor in the disproportionate effects of the disease.
The document was written by Professor Kevin Fenton, from PHE, and also includes recommendations in protecting people of the BAME community.
They have also reported the review was actually written over a week ago, but has yet to be released to all ministers and the public.
This has caused outrage by many and the Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth spoke out about it on social media saying the public and ministers should not ‘have to rely on leaks’ and says ‘enough of misleading statements and lack of transparency’.
We shouldn’t have to rely on leaks. Enough of misleading statements and lack of transparency.
Publish this in full and take the necessary action as Labour has called for.
— Jonathan Ashworth (@JonAshworth) June 13, 2020
Sky New report this review has been put together after engagement with 4,000 stakeholders expressing the BAME community’s ‘ deep dismay, anger, loss and fear’ throughout the pandemic.
It states ‘long standing inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19, increased risk of exposure, increased risk of complications and death and racism, discrimination, stigma, fear and trust’, it was reported by Sky.
The BBC, who have also seen the review, report some of Professor Fenton’s recommendations include:
- Better data collection about ethnicity and religion, including having this recorded on death certificates to accurately monitor the impact on these communities
- Making it law for health risk assessments to be done for BAME workers and giving them better representation in the health service
- Culturally sensitive public health messaging so that people, particularly those who may not speak English as a first language, understand the advice on how to protect themselves
- Continuing work to tackle racism and discrimination within the health service with a clear commitment to increase diversity in leadership at all levels.
The report has surfaced at a tumultuous time for those in the BAME community, as the risk of COVID is not only said to be higher for those in that community, but also as people take part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the world.