1. Request from EHRC to promote its Webinar in relation to its inquiry into racial inequality of workers in health and social care

Following Dr Lyfar-Cissé’s presentation at the Westminster Health Forum on 9 December 2020 the EHRC contacted her to ask if the NHS BME Network would be willing to promote its Webinar to introduce the above inquiry and promote the call for evidence. You can register to attend here.

We are sure you will agree that it is important we participate in this inquiry and therefore we would like to encourage you to register as soon as possible.

  1. Build Back Fairer: The Covid-19 Marmot Review-The Pandemic, Socioeconomic and Health Inequalities in England- Report December 2020

The report titled above outlines why it is necessary, as we emerge from the pandemic, to not only “Build Back Better”, but also to “Build Back Fairer”. The aim of the report is three-fold notably:

To examine inequalities in Covid-19 mortality. Focus is on inequalities in mortality among members of BAME groups and among certain occupations, alongside continued attention to the socioeconomic gradient in health-the more deprived the area, the worse COVID-19 mortality tends to be.

  • Th show the effects that the pandemic, and the societal response to contain the pandemic, have had on social and economic inequalities, their effects on mental and physical health, and their likely effects on health inequalities in the future.
  • To make recommendations on what needs to be done.

The recommendations are made on three timescales: the long, medium and short term.

You can access the full report and the Executive summary on our website.

We are pleased that despite all the efforts by the government to deny that structural racism has contributed to the outcomes of COVID-19 for BME people the report acknowledges that it is an integral component and as such has to be addressed as part of the solution. The Report reads:

“As the present report makes clear, there are consistently higher mortality rates from COVID-19 among Black British people and those of South Asian descent. Much of the shockingly higher rate of COVID-19 can be attributed to where people live and to socioeconomic disadvantage. The implication is clear: dealing with this higher risk entails not just healthy practices, handwashing and social distancing, but also recognising and dealing with structural racism. We have used the language of ‘the causes of the causes’ to describe social determinants of health. One interpretation of structural racism is that it represents the ‘causes of the causes of the causes’. It is structural racism that means minority ethnic groups suffer from disadvantage in each of the social determinants, highlighted and summarised in our recommendations. To put it simply, race and class are not the same. But dealing with social inequalities will go some way to dealing with the social and health disadvantage suffered by ethnic minorities. There must also be recognition and abolition of systemic racism.

We endorse this excellent report.

  1. UK Survey reveals BMEs less likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine

A survey by Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health reports that whilst approximately 75% of non-BME people would take the vaccine if advised only 57% of BME people reported they would take the vaccine.

The Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, Christina Marriott, states:

“We have known for years that different communities have different levels of satisfaction in the National Health Service” and that “More recently we have seen anti-vaccination messages have been specifically targeted at different groups, including different ethnic or religious communities.”

Yes it has been known for years and nothing has been done to change the status quo. We have a lot of work to do in 2021 and beyond!

  1. Message from the Executive Committee

Dear Members

It has by any stretch of the imagination been a difficult year in every way possible and sadly many of our BME people have lost their lives in a premature and untimely manner. May they rest in peace.

We appreciate Christmas will not and cannot be the same this year, however, from the Executive Committee of the NHS BME Network we would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

God willing, we will be in touch again on Friday 15 January 2021.

Stay safe!

Yours

Executive Committee
NHS BME Network