Review of COVID-19 disparities just 'restating problem', says RPS
Sandra Gidley, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said “the outcome of this review is disappointing as it restates the problem, rather than offering new insight”.
Source: Nic Bunce / The Pharmaceutical Journal
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has accused Public Health England (PHE) of offering “no new insight” into the problem of how COVID-19 affects black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) groups.
The report Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19, published by PHE on 2 June 2020, states that “the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them”.
Data cited in the review, from bodies including the Office for National Statistics and the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre, show that the risk of death among those diagnosed with COVID-19 was higher in people from BAME groups compared to white ethnic groups, even when other variables including sex, age, socioeconomic deprivation and region were accounted for.
“The outcome of this review is disappointing as it restates the problem, rather than offering new insight,” said Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS.
“We had hoped for an action plan to address the issues for BAME patient-facing frontline clinicians. The report contains no recommendations or actions, and it is unclear how the government plans to proceed.”
In the review, PHE say that its findings — based on surveillance data available to PHE at the time of publication — “improve our understanding of the pandemic and will help in formulating the future public health response to it”.
Gidley said that the government must “act much more quickly on this issue”, and that the “first step on from this report must be to ensure robust risk assessment and protection is in place for BAME staff along with other vulnerable groups, such as staff with existing health conditions”.
Gidley added that the Society will be taking the issue up with Victoria Atkins, equalities minister, “as a matter of urgency”.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208038
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