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Independents' Day

BAPIO and BMA raise concerns over ethnic minority doctor deaths to Covid-19

Doctor leaders have asked health authorities to investigate why Covid-19 morbidity seems to be having a disproportionate effect on doctors of black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The UK’s first ten doctors to be publicly identified to have died with Covid-19 were all from BAME backgrounds. They included GPs Dr Fayaz Ayache, Dr Syed Haider and Dr Habib Zaidi

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has written to NHS England, asking that it looks into whether workplace inequalities are putting BAME doctors at greater risk.

He said in a letter to chif executive Simon Stevens: 'We are writing to express our concerns about two issues. Firstly, the impact on the [BAME] population, and second, the high number of deaths among BAME doctors. 

‘We seek your assurances that you will investigate the issues raised below and take every necessary action to ensure that the experiences and needs of BAME people are properly considered and addressed.’

The letter continued: ‘Structural inequalities in the workforce may be placing some BAME doctors at greater risk.

‘We remain concerned about the deployment of older, retired doctors into direct patient-facing or high-risk roles too. As well as coming from mainly BAME backgrounds, the majority of doctors who have so far died in this pandemic are over the age of 60.’

The BMA referred to recent research carried out by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC), which suggested that BAME Covid-19 patients are more likely to be admitted to intensive care - although the report suggested this could be linked to socio-economic factors and the demographic make-up of the two worst-affected cities in the UK, namely London and Birmingham.

Dr Nagpaul wrote: ‘The ICNARC report found that, despite making up 13% of the population, 35% of people critically ill with Covid-19 are BAME.’

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) has also raised concerns.

President Dr Ramesh Mehta said: ‘At this national crisis, we have expressed our solid support to the Government. However, inadequately equipped soldiers in the frontline worries us a lot. 

'We have offered our assistance to the chief medical officer and Public Health England to research into causes of increased mortality amongst the BAME group so that preventive measures can be taken.’


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Readers' comments (6)

  • DrRubbishBin

    Its obviously because Covid-19 is a racist virus

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  • It’s not a ‘racist virus’, it’s the racist environment!
    Leonard Cohen wrote a song about it, ‘Everybody Knows’. tic

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  • DrRubbishBin

    "DecorumEst | Salaried GP16 Apr 2020 1:14am

    It’s not a ‘racist virus’, it’s the racist environment! "
    could you tell me how that works?

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  • No problem DrRubbishBin

    ‘The Honourable judge Mr Mitting while delivering his judgement said the claim had been brought in good faith and in the public interest, expressing hope that it would lead to progress. “The bringing of this claim is likely, in the end, to bring something of benefit to the medical profession,” he said and concluded by describing the outcome for Bapio as “if not a legal victory then a moral success”.

    The high court judge warned the RCGP that it must change its assessment process after acknowledging that ethnic minority medical graduates were put at a disadvantage by the current assessment”. “Endless amount of research has been commissioned to date with no solutions or action points, it has taken a court case to effect action”. “RCGP should now take action, including by selecting more representative examiners and role-players for the assessment”.’

    And the tic I added at the end of my previous comment was just mildly cynical!!!

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  • The reason is obvious.....BAME staff (doctor, nurses, domestic staff) are thrown to the frontline whilst their privileged colleagues are busy having planning meetings and drawing up guidance.

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  • DrRubbishBin

    jeees some of you guys are sad

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