The NHS Confederation has published a new report, 'The unequal impact of COVID-19: investigating the effect on people with certain protected characteristics', which maps existing research into COVID-19 inequalities onto some of these protected characteristics, showing how the pandemic has interacted with them.
The report then showcases four case studies of how different health and care systems have put in place interventions to respond to these inequalities when designing their COVID-19 response.
It focuses on a number of key areas including the impact of COVID-19 on:
- BAME communities
- people with disabilities
- older and younger people.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations for health and care systems across the UK.
- Research conducted by public bodies has shown that COVID-19 has had a greater impact, both directly and indirectly, on people who share certain protected characteristics (such as belonging to particular ethnicities or age categories, having a disability, or being women or from the LGBTQ+ community). Health and care services have a major role to play in both identifying the extent of these impacts as well as working together to reduce them.
- This report showcases examples of health and care systems across the country devising innovative approaches to mitigate the direct effects of COVID-19, through targeted vaccination campaigns, and support for people to recover from indirect impacts, through wellbeing and support programmes.
- These examples evidence that barriers came down during the pandemic to protect staff, patients and resources both within the NHS, and between NHS organisations and external partners in local government and the voluntary sector. They also show that tackling health inequality in an inclusive way is possible.
- The NHS and its partners must continue to gather data both on the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic on people with different protected characteristics, and on the effectiveness of different programmes in addressing these impacts.
- Building on the achievements of the past two years, we must fund voluntary and community sector partners and put processes in place to consolidate partnership working (both within the NHS and between NHS organisations and other stakeholders) to drive continued progress in reducing inequalities affecting people with protected characteristics.