Agenda item

Covid-19 and BAME

– Report for information – Dr Shade Agboola



A report was introduced by Dr Shade Agboola, WCC Director of Public Health. Evidence from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic suggested that a significant proportion of critically ill patients with COVID-19 were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. Even after accounting for the effect of age, gender, deprivation and region, people from BAME backgrounds were significantly more likely to die from COVID-19 as compared to White British counterparts. A number of explanations for this had been posited for this association, which were reported.


Public Health England (PHE) had published a rapid review of the evidence. It included seven recommendations for action across four domains. There was a need for research and data to deepen understanding of the wider socio-economic determinants and improve data recording of ethnicity, policy change, communications with community leaders and the use of anchor institutions to scale up prevention services in a targeted way.


WCC recognised the importance of diversity in its workforce. In response to the emerging evidence on COVID-19 and its relationship with ethnicity, there was ongoing work to include BAME status in organisational risk assessments. Managers and employees would be required to undertake individual risk assessments if one or more of the check list criteria was met. This included a number of equality and other considerations, one of them being BAME. It would ensure that, in addition to the general risk of infection when returning to the workplace, any potential specific risks to individual employees and their mental wellbeing was considered and assessed.

Questions and comments were invited, with responses provided as indicated:


  • The Chair asked about the timescales needed to commence work, engage with partners and report back on next steps and planned actions. This had already commenced and funding had been allocated as part of community engagement focussed on BAME groups, as part of the recovery plan. This could be a project or short-term service/ exploratory work to look at one or more of the recommendations in the PHE review. In terms of timescales, it was expected to be the next six months to one year to develop something and have a better understanding. The ultimate aim was to understand the population profile and what support they needed.
  • A comment via the chat dialogue asking about the timeline for activity and how effective measures had been, also issues such as generational differences.
  • Dame Stella Manzie noted it was hard to distinguish long-term objectives, which may already be underway, and those shorter-term interventions required that were linked to Covid. There was a wide-ranging focus on health inequalities, of which BAME communities were a significant aspect. It was complex and more than derivation, including such things as religious/cultural aspects and large-scale gatherings. Shade Agboola agreed, equating this to a gap analysis and would take the point on board.
  • The Chair referred to study trial in Spain on vitamin D and benefits for BAME communities, which may be worth researching.




That the Board:


1.     Notes the main findings from the Public Health England (PHE) Review of the Impact of COVID19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

2.     Comments as outlined above on the recommendations included in the report and appendix, and supports their adoption for Warwickshire, where the Director of Public Health considers relevant.

3.     Champions improvements in access, experiences and outcomes of NHS, local government and Health and Care Partnership commissioned services by BAME communities.


Endorses, using place-based JSNA approaches, a review into the relationship between ethnicity and COVID-19 in North Warwickshire and Nuneaton and Bedworth.

Supporting documents: