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PHE to report on BAME coronavirus death review ‘this week’, claims DHSC

The report into why black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people may be disproportionately affected by coronavirus (Covid-19) ‘will be published this week’, the Government has claimed.

This comes as Public Health England’s rapid review into the issue, with an initial focus on doctors and nurses, had been due to report by the end of May.

Yesterday, Sky News reported that sources said the delay was related to the ‘close proximity to the current situation in America’, where protests are flaring following the killing of a black man by a police officer.

But a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘Ministers received initial findings yesterday. They are being rapidly considered and a report will be published this week. It is not true to say this has been delayed due to global events.’

The PHE report, commissioned by health secretary Matt Hancock, was to review thousands of existing health records to collate conclusions on cases and health outcomes, taking into account factors such as age, gender, deprivation and obesity.

The news comes as 11 out of 12 GPs who have died with Covid-19 in England so far were of BAME origin and practices have been told they should risk assess staff.

NHS England released updated guidance on risk assessment of BAME workers last week but has not endorsed a specific risk scoring tool.

GPs in Manchester have developed their own scoring system and primary care experts have supported moves to move BAME staff away from patient-facing roles.