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Home  »   Member NetworksBAMELatest News   »   PDA urge the government and NHS to protect the BAME community and include pharmacy in plans to keep workers safe

PDA urge the government and NHS to protect the BAME community and include pharmacy in plans to keep workers safe

After the ONS (Office of National Statistics) confirmed that people that are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) are more likely to suffer a coronavirus (COVID-19) related death, the PDA have urged the NHS and the government to develops plans to mitigate risk in order to keep all pharmacy workers safe.

Mon 11th May 2020 The PDA

“We have noted the confirmation from ONS that there does seem to be a correlation between ethnicity and varying death rates due to COVID19-related conditions, justifying the growing and understandable concerns among the BAME community”, said Alima Batchelor, Head of Policy at the PDA.

Recent data found that black men and women, for instance, are 4.2 and 4.3 times more likely to die from a coronavirus related death than men and women of white ethnicity.

Men and women of black ethnicity decreased to 1.9 times more likely than white men and women to die a COVID-19 related death. Men in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic group were 1.8 times more likely than white men, and women, 1.6 times more likely again when taking into account the same socio-demographic characteristics and levels of health and disability.

Some have argued that cultural, genetic, and socioeconomic factors could explain the disparities. The ONS, however, considered socio-demographic characteristics and self-reported health and disability levels, finding that the risk was still significantly higher for people with a BAME background.

Alima continued: “A significant number of PDA members are part of this community and provide front line services to patients, sometimes in the absence of appropriate PPE. We welcome the moves to start examining how we can better protect our BAME NHS and health workers, whilst in no way dismissing the ongoing serious safety issues affecting all key frontline workers who are subject to heightened risks due to their inability to remain home during the lock-down.”

“We would encourage pharmacist BAME members, who have health conditions and are concerned regarding safe practice to contact the PDA.”

“The fact that so many workers across health, social care and transport are still unable to obtain adequate PPE and are falling ill and dying due to COVID-19 related illness raises serious questions about our pandemic preparedness and response which the PDA expects to be examined in detail at a future Public Inquiry.”

BAME workers represent 43% of the pharmacy profession. NHS England has advised pharmacies to carry out risk assessments for BAME staff and “make appropriate arrangements accordingly”, for instance, to “working remotely or in a low-risk area” and providing access to mental health services.

The Welsh government has similarly recognised the higher risk for BAME workers and earlier this month urged the NHS and government to include pharmacy in national plans to keep BAME healthcare workers safe.

Concerns have been raised over the vagueness of current guidance and the difficulty in redeploying BAME staff away from the frontline because of understaffing.

For more about how the PDA is protecting pharmacists during the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.

Join the PDA BAME network

If you are pharmacist and would like to join the PDA BAME Network, or for more information, click below.

Join the BAME Network today

Related links

Download the ONS report here

thumbnail of ONS-Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths 2 March 2020 to 10 April 2020

See also: NHS Risk assessments for staff  


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