The NHS is to investigate the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on black and minority ethnic Britons, Downing Street confirmed today.
The health service and Public Health England will review evidence after data on patients with confirmed Covid-19 from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) suggested ethnic minorities are over-represented.
The first 10 doctors to die in the UK from Covid-19 were all from black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) backgrounds – with ancestry from regions including Asia, the Middle East and Africa, a figure Labour described as ‘deeply disturbing’.
Analysis from Sky News suggests that of 54 medical and care staff killed by coronavirus, 70 per cent were non-white.
BAME staff make up 44 per cent of medical personnel and Labour and the British Medical Association were among those calling for an inquiry.
Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty tonight said: It is absolutely critical that we find out which groups are most at risk so we can help to protect them.’
He said that while it was clear age, male gender and having other health problems were clear risk factors, the evidence for ethnicity was ’less clear’.
‘I have had discussions with scientists about this in terms of trying to tease this apart today – also looking very specifically at healthcare workers with leaders of the NHS and across the medical and nursing professions,’ he told the daily news conference.
The first ten doctors to die in the UK from Covid-19 were all BAME – with ancestry from regions including Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Pictured is Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, who passed away in hospital after a 15-day battle against the virus
‘This is something we are very keen to get extremely clear. We have asked PHE to look at this in some detail and then what we really want is if we see any signal at all we want to then next know what we can do about it to minimise risk.’
Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women and equalities minister, said: ‘The Government must ensure the review is robust and looks into the underlying structural economic and social inequalities that have affected BAME communities in this crisis.
‘It must also urgently record data broken down by ethnicity on the number of people who have died as a result of Covid-19.
‘The devastating effect of Covid-19 on BAME communities cannot be overstated. This review must be the first step in ensuring that all communities are equally protected from this virus.’
Of 1,966 patients with Covid-19, the ICNARC said 64.8 per cent were white, 13.6 per cent black, 13.8 per cent Asian, and 6.6 per cent were described as other.
Around 7.5 per cent of the population were Asian and 3.3 per cent black in the 2011 UK census.
Dr Fayaz Ayache, 72, died six days after being taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance
Among the medics to be killed while trying to save lives was Rr Fayaz Ayache, 72, who died six days after being taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance.
The grandfather, who lived in Raydon in Suffolk and was born in Syria, had been diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia and coronavirus.
Dr Ayache had stopped working about three and a half weeks ago due to the risk of coronavirus, his daughter said.
Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, passed away in hospital after a 15-day battle against the virus.
Weeks earlier, the doctor, who was born in Bangladesh, wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to ‘urgently’ ensure PPE was available for ‘each and every NHS worker in the UK’.
Dr Amged El-Hawrani became the UK’s first front-line hospital doctor to die from coronavirus following warnings that a lack of protective equipment would cost medical staff lives
Dr Alfa Saadu, originally from Nigeria, was described by his family as a ‘passionate’ physician who had come out of retirement to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Britain
And Dr Alfa Saadu, originally from Nigeria, was described by his family as a ‘passionate’ physician who had come out of retirement to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Britain.
The 68-year-old doctor, who died on March 31 after fighting the virus for two weeks, had been working at Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
Dr Amged El-Hawrani became the UK’s first front-line hospital doctor to die from coronavirus following warnings that a lack of protective equipment would cost medical staff lives.
And Dr Anton Sebastianpillai, a consultant geriatrician, died on Saturday at Kingston Hospital in South West London after he was admitted to its intensive care unit on March 31.
The doctor had come out of retirement to help with the coronavirus epidemic.