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PHE to present recommendations on reducing BAME Covid-19 risks ‘next week’

Public Health England has said it will formally submit the final version of its report with recommendations regarding ethnic minorities and Covid-19 next week.

The news comes after a 69-page draft of the document, dated 29 May, was leaked to the media yesterday, and amid reports that US anti-racism protests had prompted the Government to choose to delay its publication.

PHE published a report on Covid-19 and black, Asian and minority ethnic people on 2 June, which confirmed higher mortality rates, but this was just a statistical analysis and contained no recommendations.

The Government has denied accusations that it deliberately delayed the recommendations made by Professor Kevin Fenton.

A PHE spokesperson said: ‘The Government commissioned PHE to conduct an epidemiological review to analyse how different factors can impact on peoples’ health outcomes from Covid-19. This was published in full on the 2 June.

‘In parallel, Professor Fenton on PHE’s behalf engaged with a significant number of individuals and organisations within the BAME community, to hear their views, concerns and ideas about the impact of Covid-19 on their communities.

‘We recognise this important contribution, and the interest it has generated, and will formally submit the final version to the minister next week, and publish it at the same time.’

Sky News reported yesterday that recommendations within the draft document included collecting ethnicity data for Covid-19 patients, including at death certification. It also said information campaigns surrounding Covid-19 should be ‘culturally competent’ and advised accelerated development of occupational risk assessment tools.

This week, NHS England amended its latest standard operating procedures for general practice during the pandemic to clarify that BAME staff should be risk assessed before facing patients.

Criticism has mounted around the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 epidemic and its effect on BAME communities, with primary care and racism experts labelling PHE’s 2 June report a ‘whitewash’.