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COVID-19 risk: BAME healthcare workers study gets go-ahead

UK-wide project will explore how virus affects staff from minority ethnic groups
Nurse in PPE. Picture: Shutterstock

University of Leicester project will explore how the coronavirus affects staff from minority ethnic groups

A UK-wide study investigating why healthcare workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms has been approved.

The 12-month UK-REACH study, led by the University of Leicester, will start on 1 August and will explore the physical and mental health changes that occur in BAME healthcare workers with COVID-19.

View our COVID-19 resource centre

A study to improve the lives of healthcare workers

Manish Pareek

The study will also include non-clinical staff integral to the day-to-day running of healthcare organisations, including cleaners, kitchen staff and porters.

Findings from the study will be analysed by groups including the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council,

University of Leicester project will explore how the coronavirus affects staff from minority ethnic groups


Picture: Shutterstock

A UK-wide study investigating why healthcare workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms has been approved.

The 12-month UK-REACH study, led by the University of Leicester, will start on 1 August and will explore the physical and mental health changes that occur in BAME healthcare workers with COVID-19.

View our COVID-19 resource centre

A study to improve the lives of healthcare workers

Manish Pareek
Manish Pareek

The study will also include non-clinical staff integral to the day-to-day running of healthcare organisations, including cleaners, kitchen staff and porters.

Findings from the study will be analysed by groups including the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Dental Council, NHS Employers and BAME Professionals’ Associations to provide evidence to policymakers. 

The study’s chief investigator, Manish Pareek, associate clinical professor in infectious diseases at the University of Leicester, said he wants the research to improve the lives of healthcare workers.

‘Globally, we have evidence that people from BAME backgrounds have a higher chance of going to intensive care and dying from COVID-19 – this may also be the case for healthcare staff,' he said.

BAME healthcare workers more vulnerable to COVID-19

To take part in the study, healthcare staff will either receive a direct invitation or can register through their workplace.

The research comes after a Public Health England report revealed that of the COVID-19 deaths in healthcare workers, 63% were from BAME groups.

In addition, Office for National Statistics data revealed that people from minority ethnic groups, particularly South Asian and black and African Caribbean communities, are up to four times more likely to die from COVID-19. However, the reason for this increased risk is not yet known.


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