18 Apr 2020


The continuing failure to record the ethnicity of Covid-19 patients is risking the lives of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) frontline NHS workers and citizens across the UK, according to the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality (LDCRE).

To date no record of the ethnicity of those with Covid-19 has been collected by the government. This is despite there being anecdotal evidence that Covid-19 is affecting a disproportionately high percentage of those belonging to BAME groups.

Roderick Lynch, Chair of the LDCRE, said: "Comprehensive data needs to be collected from everyone who suffers from this terrible disease. Lib Dems fully understand the unprecedented pressure on the government and we know it is doing its best, but the hard fact is that pandemic data is crucial to beating the coronavirus."

"None of us claim to be data experts but we do need to listen to those who are and start recording much more comprehensive data from all coronavirus patients across the UK," said Tower Hamlets Lib Dem councillor Rabina Khan, Executive Member of the LDCRE and Special Advisor in the House of Lords.

"This is no time to cast blame - we all need to just fight this as best we can. Once the battle is won we can then see what we could have done better," said Roderick.

Liberal Democrat MPs Layla Moran and Munira Wilson have called on the government to improve monitoring of the impact of the virus on certain communities.

Today Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association (BMA), speaking to the Observer newspaper, said that "...data recording needs to start now, not tomorrow. When you have stark statistics like this, it is an instruction for government to act." Last week Dr Nagpaul asked for an official investigation into the issue.

Only on Thursday did the government agree to a review by NHS England and Public Health England as to why patients from ethnic minorities seem to be worse affected by Covid-19.

Nearly two weeks have passed since this issue was highlighted by a report from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (https://www.icnarc.org/). It indicated that despite BAME communities comprising only about 14% of the population, more than 30% of critically ill coronavirus patients identified as BAME.

On Friday a second report by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (https://www.icnarc.org/) found similar results.

Of the 57 NHS staff known to have died 68% were BAME workers.

The South Asian Health Foundation (https://www.sahf.org.uk/) considers that the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre data now shows firm signals that the anecdotal evidence is true.

Currently working unfunded from its base in Birmingham the South Asian Health Foundation says that proper data recording and analysis is urgently required followed peer-reviewed research publications.

Similar data signals are being seen in the African American population in the USA and there are fears that without comprehensive research whole swathes of the continental African population could be devastated.

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