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Effects of COVID-19 on BAME healthcare staff: researchers call for more study volunteers

UK-REACH project is exploring physical and mental health impact

UK-REACH project is exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the physical and mental health of healthcare staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds

Researchers examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) healthcare workers want to recruit 20,000 nursing and other staff of all ethnicities to boost their study cohort.

The University of Leicester UK-REACH project, which is exploring the physical and mental health impact of the pandemic on BAME clinical and non-clinical staff, has so far recruited 10,000 people. But now researchers are appealing for more participants, nursing staff in particular.

UK-REACH project is exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the physical and mental health of healthcare staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds

Examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on black, Asian and minority ethnic healthcare workers
Picture: iStock

Researchers examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) healthcare workers want to recruit 20,000 nursing and other staff of all ethnicities to boost their study cohort.

The University of Leicester UK-REACH project, which is exploring the physical and mental health impact of the pandemic on BAME clinical and non-clinical staff, has so far recruited 10,000 people. But now researchers are appealing for more participants, nursing staff in particular.

BAME nursing staff disproportionately affected by COVID-19

Study chief investigator Manish Pareek, who is associate clinical professor in infectious diseases at University of Leicester, told Nursing Standard: ‘One of the things we are keen on looking into is how nurses as a group have been quite disproportionately affected.

‘Nurses seem to have a high rate of infection now and previously. They have also had their mental health impacted as we saw earlier on this week from the King’s College London study.’

He stressed that staff can be from the NHS, private and social care sector, can be white and do not have to have had COVID-19.

In January, the Government published data that of the 1.2 million people employed by the NHS, 20.7% were from non-white ethnic groups.

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

Study participants asked to fill online survey on infection risks, mental health and workplace practices

The latest information from the Office for National Statistics states that between 9 March and 12 October 2020 there were 646 deaths of health and social care workers from COVID-19. Nursing Standard believes 96 nurses and healthcare assistants have died to date after contracting the virus.

In addition to being able to apply online, the study is actively recruiting all over the UK via employers. Participants will be required to fill out an online survey, responding to questions about workplace practices, infection risks and mental health.

RCN diversity and equalities coordinator Wendy Irwin said: ‘We know BAME health and care staff are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

‘We hope this study will add weight to existing knowledge and lead to improved protection for all nursing staff.’

Apply to be part of the UK-REACH study

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