We welcome the publication of Public Health England’s second report looking at the health inequalities in relation to COVID-19 deaths prompted by data showing that Black and Asian communities had the highest death rates from coronavirus.
The report finds the unequal impact on BAME people may be explained by social and economic inequalities, racism, discrimination and stigma, differing risks at work and inequalities in the prevalence of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and asthma, which can increase the severity of COVID-19. The report sets out seven recommendations for the Government and health services to act on in order to mitigate further and ongoing risk.
Our Dr Greg Ussher, CEO, responded to the report:
“The findings that systemic racism played a part – and is no doubt still playing a part – in the health outcomes of Black and Asian people is gravely concerning.
“We are also saddened – but not surprised – that the report found the risk of death increased due to socio-economic factors, as we know well at METRO that some groups of people are experiencing poorer health as a result of current public health and social care policies and the impact of austerity. “The report states that 'Ethnic inequalities in health and wellbeing in the UK existed before COVID-19 and the pandemic has made these disparities more apparent and undoubtedly exacerbated them.' The pandemic has shown the stark reality of this inequality and the real and tragic impact it has on the lives of people in England.
“Part of our vision at METRO is for a world where optimum health and wellbeing for all is a collective goal. We will continue to work with local health and social care leaders and advocate for improved health and support services which will further the wellbeing of the people we support. “We strongly urge the Government to act, and act immediately, on the recommendations set out in the report, and also take note and act upon the recommendations put forward in the Marmot Review 10 Years On, published earlier this year, which similarly looked to address health inequalities now and into the future.”
The full report is available on the Government website.