We must learn from pandemic to protect BAME staff, says RCM

The RCM has welcomed the start of a major study on the impact of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) healthcare workers, launched today.

The research, which is led by Leicester University, will follow healthcare workers from BAME backgrounds over 12 months, monitoring changes  in their physical and mental health, and how they have changed their professional and social behaviours in response to COVID-19. The RCM is a partner organisation supporting the study.

RCM chief executive Gill Walton said: “It cannot be right that black, Asian and minority ethnic health workers are not properly protected or are disadvantaged simply because of their race or ethnicity. Yet the anecdotal evidence of COVID-19 suggests just that. It is critical that we find out quickly why this virus so adversely affected our black and Asian colleagues, so that measures can be put in place to ensure their safety.

“However, as important as this study is, we cannot wait to act. This week, we heard that one in four black and Asian staff still haven’t had a workplace risk assessment. This is unacceptable. NHS workers, including midwives and maternity support workers, have made incredible efforts and sacrifices throughout the pandemic to care for those using our NHS.  We must all do everything in our power to care for them.”

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