BAME Doctors Fear They Will Contract COVID-1918 May 2020
A new survey held among NHS doctors shows that almost half of all doctors are concerned that they will contract COVID-19. According to the survey, more than three-quarters of those who are concerned belong to Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Many of them expressed that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) availability is low and training on how to use them effectively is insufficient. Many of the respondents have also expressed concern about passing the virus to others at home. Doctors added that as a result of the current situation, the morale among the NHS staff is low even though most people believe morale among the frontline workers is high.
The report comes at a time increased attention is being drawn to the disproportionately-high number of BAME deaths, especially in the NHS, including calls for an inquiry to understand why this is taking place. A number of NHS trusts have also been recommended to move BAME staff away from frontline services to protect them.
“Things are nowhere near what we need.”
The survey, which was conducted by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), found that 48% of all doctors who responded are either concerned or very concerned for their health. Among the doctors of BAME backgrounds who responded, the figure rose to 76%. Two-thirds of the respondents also said that they are concerned of passing the virus to others at home.
According to Professor Andrew Goddard, the President of the RCP, the core concern among NHS doctors is PPE. He said that access to PPE and training on its proper use remains insufficient. He added that although testing for COVID-19 has improved, delays in getting the results back is also of concern.
Describing the situation as “awful”, Goddard says that the fear among the BAME workers is something we need to wake up to, given that a significant portion of NHS workers are of BAME backgrounds. He added that despite overall public perception that morale in the frontlines are good, many frontline workers are very worried about the present situation.
Goddard also expressed concern that there are a lot of groups working on risk assessment tools and this risks creating an inconsistent approach across the NHS and the social care sector. He warned that without a consistent approach, one group would receive a different assessment than the other.
NHS is looking to move BAME workers out of frontline duties
The survey results come at a time there is growing awareness about the disproportionate rate of BAME deaths in the United Kingdom, including the NHS. In recent weeks, pressure groups, activists and politicians have called for an inquiry to be opened to understand the exact causes behind the BAME deaths. NHS trusts have also been advised to move vulnerable BAME workers out of frontline duties in a bid to protect them.