- Adrian O’Dowd
- London, Great Britain
MPs said NHS can help prevent the disease and reduce the risk of coronavirus infection in Black, Asian, and Ethnic Minority Patients (BAMEs), reducing the age at which NHS health testing begins in some patients.
Deputies of the parliamentary committee on women’s affairs and equality held a session of evidence on June 17 to determine the effects of coronavirus on people from BAME who were disproportionately dying of the disease. 19
They asked medical and academic experts, as well as experts from BAME, whether biological determinants were the primary factor for more BAME people dying from covid-19, and in what areas government efforts to protect BAME people would be best focused.
Kamlesh Hunti, professor of diabetes for primary care and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester, testified, said: “Biological factors are well known. There are some modifiable and some unmodifiable factors. The presence of chronic diseases is certainly a variable factor. ”
He referred to the issue addressed in the Public Health England report.1 on this topic, published June 16, which states: “Primary prevention is key. We must ensure that people from BAME are regularly assessed for the risk factors mentioned.
“We have an NHS medical examination for people between 40 and 74 years old. For people of BAME origin, since they receive these conditions earlier, we must extend them to 25 years onwards. ”
He also added that it was necessary to send more help to people from BAME in the field of primary health care: “We had a block for three months, and this can last a little longer. There was a failure in patient management in the provision of primary care.
“It is estimated that 95% of patients are treated in general practice. Since these people did not have an assessment, we must make sure that they were seen early, and their risk factors are controlled through distance consultations, which happens, but not regularly.
“When we get out of the lockout, we need to make sure that these people have been evaluated, they have blood tests done, and they are being controlled more aggressively to make sure their risk factors are controlled.”
Fellow witness Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the board at BMA, said the BMA was fighting for steps to take on this issue in the early stages of the pandemic, asking the government to investigate the fact that the first 10 doctors died from covid-19 were all from BAME’s origin .
“The impact on health workers was serious,” Nagpaul said. “Now we know that 63% of the health workers who died were from BAME.
“From the very beginning, the BMA demanded mitigation in terms of risk assessment and considered ethnicity as a risk factor in itself.”
The deputies asked to what extent the disproportionate number of people who died from coronavirus died from the nature of the virus itself, associated diseases or socio-economic factors.
Nagpol said: “The issue of race and ethnicity is linked to many other risk factors and inequalities.
“We know, for example, that you are twice as likely to die if you come from a disadvantaged community compared to a wealthier one, and we also know that there are twice as many people living in disadvantaged areas in BAM.
“There is probably a racial inequality that has led most BAME people living with low wages working in these key roles to not be able to get the same protection as those who could work at home.”
Witnesses also said that face masking should be mandatory at any workplace with BAME employees if social distancing was not possible.
Nagpaul said: “Employers must first ensure social distance, and if this is not possible, they must ensure that screens or face covers are used as a means of reducing transmission.”