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Found 136 results
  1. News Article
    African American children are three times more likely than their white peers to die after surgery despite arriving at hospitals without serious underlying conditions, the latest evidence of unequal outcomes in health care, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, “We know that traditionally, African Americans have poorer health outcomes across every age strata you can look at,” said Olubukola Nafiu, the lead researcher and an anaesthesiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “One of the explanations that’s usually given for that, among many, is that African American patients tend to have higher comorbidities. They tend to be sicker.” But his research challenges that explanation, he said, by finding a racial disparity even among otherwise healthy children who came to hospitals for mostly elective surgeries. Out of 172,549 children, 36 died within a month of their operation. But of those children, nearly half were black – even though African Americans made up 11% of the patients overall. Black children had a 0.07% chance of dying after surgery, compared with 0.02% for white children. Postoperative complications and serious adverse events were also more likely among the black patients and they were more likely to require a blood transfusion, experience sepsis, have an unplanned second operation or be unexpectedly intubated. Read full story Source: The Independent, 20 July 2020
  2. News Article
    Incoming Health Education England chief executive Navina Evans said the momentum created by the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement meant there was now increased “pressure on white leaders” to act on racism and discrimination in the service. Dr Evans praised a letter written by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust chief executive Roisin Fallon-Williams, in which she admitted to being “culpable” and “complicit” in failing to fully understand the inequality and discrimination faced by people with black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds. “That was great to see, and as you can see from the reactions to her letter people were really, really pleased to have it acknowledged,” she said. However, Dr Evans added: “As well as that [acknowledgement] there needs to be action”. Read full story Source: HSJ, 22 June 2020
  3. News Article
    An independent investigation into working conditions at a unit of the NHS’s blood and organ transplant service has concluded that it is “systemically racist” and “psychologically unsafe.” The internal investigation was commissioned in response to numerous complaints from ethnic minority staff working in a unit of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) in Colindale, north London. The report, carried out by the workplace relations company Globis Mediation Group, concluded that the environment was “toxic” and “dysfunctional.” The report found evidence that ethnic minority employees had faced discrimination when applying for jobs and that white candidates had been selected for posts ahead of black applicants who were better qualified. “Recruitment is haphazard, based on race and class and whether a person’s ‘face fits,’” it said. “Being ignored, being viewed as ineligible for promotion and enduring low levels of empathy all seem to be normal,” the report noted. “These behaviours have created an environment which is now psychologically unsafe and systemically racist.” Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, commented, “This report highlights all too painfully the racial prejudices and discrimination we are seeing across healthcare. We must renew efforts to challenge these behaviours and bring an end to the enduring injustices faced by black people and BAME healthcare workers here in the UK.” Read story Source: BMJ, 10 June 2020
  4. News Article
    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its first figures analysis Covid-19 related deaths by ethnic group in England and Wales between March 2 and April 10. The results showed that the risk of death involving the coronavirus among Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) groups is “significantly higher” than that of those of white ethnicity. Researchers found that when taking age into account, in comparison to white men and women, black men are 4.2 times more likely to die from a Covid-19-related death and black women are 4.3 times more likely. People with Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian and mixed ethnicities have a raised risk of death, too. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 7 May 2020
  5. News Article
    The latest annual report into the deaths of people with learning disabilities has criticised the “insufficient” national response to past recommendations and called for “urgent” policy changes. The national learning disabilities mortality review programme has criticised the response from national health bodies to its previous recommendations. To date, just over 7,000 deaths have been notified to the programme and reviews have been completed for just 45%. There have been four annual reports for programme to date, and in the latest published today, the authors warned: “The response to these recommendations has been insufficient and we have not seen the sea change required to reassure [families] that early deaths are being prevented." “It is long over-due that we should now have concerted national-level policy change in response to the issues raised in this report and previous others. A commitment to take forward the recommendations in a meaningful and determined way is urgently required.” The latest report also warns that black, Asian and ethnic minority children with learning disabilities die “disproportionately” younger compared to other ethnicities. It also found system problems and gaps in service provision were more likely to contribute to deaths in BAME people with learning disabilities. Read full story Source: HSJ, 16 July 2020
  6. News Article
    Some NHS trusts in England are yet to complete /cOVID-19 risk assessments for their staff from ethnic minority groups more than two months after the NHS first told them to do so, an investigation by The BMJ has found. On 29 April NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, wrote to all NHS leaders telling them to carry out risk assessments and make “appropriate arrangements” to protect ethnic minority staff, amid growing evidence that they were at greater risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19. However, The BMJ asked England’s 140 acute care trusts for details of risk assessments they had carried out and what subsequent actions they had put in place. Seventy trusts responded. Of these, 27 (39%) said that assessments were yet to be completed for all ethnic minority staff, and 43 (61%) indicated that assessments had been completed. But the other 70 trusts were unable to provide a response within the 20 day deadline, citing “unprecedented challenges” posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is not known what stage they are at in risk assessing staff. Commenting on The BMJ’s findings, Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA’s chair of council, said, “Clearly, we know that a significant number of doctors have not been risk assessed. It is a shame that it has taken so long, because the risk assessments and mitigations would have been most useful and impactful during the peak of the virus.” Doctors’ leaders have suggested that systemic race inequalities in the workplace may have exacerbated delays in risk assessing staff. Nagpaul said, “The BMA survey found that doctors from a BAME [black, Asian, and minority ethnic] background felt under more pressure to see patients without adequate protection. So it does beg the question of whether there’s also been this added factor of BAME healthcare staff feeling unable to demand their right to being assessed and protected." “This is something the NHS needs to tackle. This is an issue that predates covid. It’s vital that we have an NHS where anyone is able to voice their concerns. No one should have to suffer or have fear in silence.” Read full story Source: The BMJ, 10 July 2020
  7. News Article
    The NHS faces a new set of wide-ranging requirements as part of a comprehensive plan to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic staff, HSJ has discovered. A draft NHS England/NHS Improvement document, seen by HSJ, proposes trusts ensure every staff member has “a risk assessment to keep them safe”. It says the centre will provide: “Guidance and support to employers on creating proactive approaches to risk assessment for BAME staff, including physical and mental health.” The document, Addressing Impact of Covid-19 on BAME Staff in the NHS, will call for five actions: 1. Every member of staff, current and returning, will have a risk assessment to keep them safe. 2. Every organisation with a CEO, and for primary care CCGs and ICSs, needs a BAME co-leader. 3. Diversity at every level of the health and care system starts with the podium, through our senior decision-making forums and across all organisations and at all levels of the workforce. 4. A bespoke health and wellbeing (including rehab and recovery) offer for BAME staff will be developed and rolled out for the system. 5. Every part of the system will use guidance on increasing diversity and inclusion in communications will be produced, led by the system. Read full story Source: HSJ, 6 April 2020
  8. News Article
    The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists ( (RCOG) has today launched a Race Equality Taskforce to better understand and tackle racial disparities in women’s healthcare and racism within the obstetric and gynaecology workforce. Addressing health inequalities is a key priority area for RCOG President Dr Edward Morris, who is co-chairing the Taskforce alongside Dr Ranee Thakar, Vice President of the RCOG, and Dr Christine Ekechi, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and RCOG Spokesperson for Racial Equality. Statistics show, for example, that black women are five times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth or in the six-month postpartum period compared with White women and the risk for Asian women is twice as high. During the pandemic, 55% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with coronavirus were from a Black, Asian or other minority ethnic background despite the fact 13% of the UK population identify themselves as BAME. It is also clear that there is a significant gap in understanding the factors that result in a higher risk of morbidity and mortality for Black, Asian and other ethnic minority women in the UK. The Taskforce will collaborate with groups across healthcare and government as well as individual women to address these concerning trends and will ensure that the work of the RCOG is reflective of its anti-racist agenda. Read full story Source: RCOG, 15 July 2020
  9. News Article
    "Structural racism and social inequality" should be taken into account when looking at the impact of COVID-19 on Britain's black, Asian and minority ethnic, according to an expert involved in a recent review. Professor Kevin Fenton was a major part of a Public Health England (PHE) report ordered by the government into why the BAME community has been disproportionately affected by coronavirus. It found people from BAME groups were up to twice as likely to die with COVID-19 than those from a white British background. The review was also meant to offer recommendations, but sources have told Sky News that these were "held back" by the government. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said coming from a non-white background was a Speaking at a public meeting for Hackney Council, Prof Fenton said: "Over the last six weeks I've worked with over 4,000 individuals to understand what are some of the contextual issues that are driving the excess risk amongst, black, Asian and minority ethnic groups." "Some of the structural issues, like racism, discrimination, stigma, distrust, fair, these are real issues that are challenging for the communities and are seen as underpinning some of the disparities we see for COVID. Any conversation about what we need to do, should take into consideration these things." Read full story Source: Sky News, 9 June 2020
  10. News Article
    The government removed a key section from Public Health England’s review (published Tuesday) of the relative risk of COVID-19 to specific groups, HSJ has discovered. The review reveals the virus poses a greater risk to those who are older, male and overweight. The risk is also described as “disproportionate” for those with Asian, Caribbean and black ethnicities. It makes no attempt to explain why the risk to BAME groups should be higher. An earlier draft of the review which was circulated within government last week contained a section which included responses from the 1,000-plus organisations and individuals who supplied evidence to the review. Many of these suggested that discrimination and poorer life chances were playing a part in the increased risk of COVID-19 to those with BAME backgrounds. HSJ understands this section was an annex to the report but could also stand alone. Typical was the following recommendation from the response by the Muslim Council of Britain, which stated: “With high levels of deaths of BAME healthcare workers, and extensive research showing evidence and feelings of structural racism and discrimination in the NHS, PHE should consider exploring this in more detail, and looking into specific measures to tackle the culture of discrimination and racism. It may also be of value to issue a clear statement from the NHS that this is not acceptable, committing to introducing change.” One source with knowledge of the review said the section “did not survive contact with Matt Hancock’s office” over the weekend. Read full story Source: HSJ, 2 June 2020
  11. News Article
    Factors such as racism and social inequality may have contributed to increased risks of black, Asian and minority communities catching and dying from COVID-19, a leaked report says. Historic racism may mean that people are less likely to seek care or to demand better personal protective equipment, says the Public Health England (PHE) draft, seen by the BBC. Other possible factors include risks linked to occupation and inequalities in conditions such as diabetes may increase disease severity. The report, the second by PHE on the subject, pointed to racism and discrimination as a root cause affecting health and the risk of both exposure to the virus and becoming seriously ill. It said stakeholders expressed "deep dismay, anger, loss and fear in their communities" as data emerged suggesting COVID-19 was "exacerbating existing inequalities". And it found "historic racism and poorer experiences of healthcare or at work" meant individuals in BAME groups were less likely to seek care when needed or to speak up when they had concerns about personal protective equipment or risk. The report concluded: "The unequal impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities may be explained by a number of factors ranging from social and economic inequalities, racism, discrimination and stigma, occupational risk, inequalities in the prevalence of conditions that increase the severity of disease including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and asthma." Read full story Source: BBC News, 13 June 2020
  12. News Article
    The high proportion of pregnant women from black and ethnic minority (BAME) groups admitted to hospital with COVID-19 "needs urgent investigation", says a study in the British Medical Journal. Out of 427 pregnant women studied between March and April, more than half were from these backgrounds - nearly three times the expected number. Most were admitted late in pregnancy and did not become seriously ill. Although babies can be infected, the researchers said this was "uncommon". When other factors such as obesity and age were taken into account, there was still a much higher proportion from ethnic minority groups than expected, the authors said. But the explanation for why BAME pregnant women are disproportionately affected by coronavirus is not simple "or easily solved," says Professor Knight, lead author. "We have to talk to women themselves, as well as health professionals, to give us more of a clue." Gill Walton from the Royal College of Midwives says, "Even before the pandemic, women from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to die in and around their pregnancy," She said they were "still at unacceptable risk" and getting help and support to affected communities was crucial. Ms Walton added: "The system is failing them and that has got to change quickly, because they matter, their lives matter and they deserve the best and safest care." Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 June 2020
  13. News Article
    Health leaders have called for the routine recording of ethnicity and faith during the registration of deaths to help fight COVID-19, but the government appears to have rejected the idea. Leaders at West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, the second largest integrated care system in England, wrote to registrar general Abi Tierney last month and said the lack of routine collection and analysis of this data “means there is a structural barrier to understanding of inequalities in mortality”. The Home Office replied and said it is considering “a range of reliable and proportionate ways to collect the necessary information”. But HSJ understands the Home Office has indicated no immediate action will be taken on the issue. The letter said: “This absence has undoubtedly led to delays in identifying the inequalities of COVID-19 mortality and means that we remain unclear about the disparities in deaths outside of hospital. These delays have risked contributing to further loss of life in our places in recent weeks, as we have not had robust data to enable us to address impacts at sufficient pace as we have been dealing with this crisis.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 8 July 2020