Hospital warns black and minority ethnic staff they are ‘vulnerable’ to Covid-19
Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) staff at an NHS hospital have been told they are “vulnerable and at risk” of Covid-19.
Bosses at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust have written to BAME employees setting out how they can be supported during the pandemic.
It comes after a review was launched to examine the seemingly disproportionate number of BAME people who have been affected by Covid-19.
Data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre suggests 34.5% of critically-ill Covid-19 patients have BAME backgrounds.
This is despite just 10.8% of the population being black or Asian, according to the 2011 census.
And a significant proportion of NHS workers who have died after being diagnosed with Covid-19 have BAME heritage.
The letter from bosses at the Somerset trust states: “We have taken the decision to include BAME colleagues in the vulnerable and at risk group and are asking managers to have conversations with all BAME colleagues as they would for all within the vulnerable group.”
It adds: “While we don’t yet have any conclusive research or national guidance, we feel that this is the right approach to take.”
The letter encourages staff to ensure they are properly fitted with appropriate personal protective equipment and to access testing for themselves and family members.
Peter Lewis, chief executive at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We recognise how worrying it is at the moment for our colleagues and we want to provide them with as much support as we can.
“Our BAME colleagues make a significant contribution to our Trust and the care we provide to patients. We are grateful for their ongoing commitment.”