Coronavirus: Labour accuses government of covering up recommendations to protect BAME people from COVID-19

Derrick Santistevan

Labour’s shadow health secretary has actually implicated the government of “covering up vital recommendations” that might assist protect black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people from COVID-19

Jonathan Ashworth’s criticisms followed Whitehall sources informed Sky News the recommendations from a Public Health England (PHE) review were “held back” by the government, including “ministers have had this element of the report”.

On Tuesday, the government released the information component of the long waited for review, led by PHE national director for health and health and wellbeing Teacher Kevin Fenton, following recommendations from sources it was set to be postponed due to the fact that of the Black Lives Matter motion.

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Information gathered by PHE was released – however a “qualitative assessment”, consisting of the recommendations for the government, was not.

The released review discovered people from BAME groups were up to two times as most likely to pass away with COVID-19 than those from a white British background, however there were no recommendations on actions that might be taken to protect BAME lives.

Sources state the second half of the report includes work which takes a look at “social inequality” and “structural racism” within the UK and knows from 4,000 organisations and stakeholders.

Mr Ashworth informed Sky News: “We understand BAME people are more most likely to die from COVID and more most likely to fall seriously ill with COVID. This report requirements to be released in full.

“Covering up vital recommendations is completely unacceptable. Action must be taken to protect those disproportionately at risk from this horrific virus.”

PHE did not reject that a “qualitative assessment” with recommendations for the government was released as part of the findings.

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth states the government has actually stopped working to release recommendations to protect BAME people

It stated: “Professor Fenton led PHE’s work on COVID-19 and BAME communities, engaging with a significant number of individuals and organisations within the BAME community over the past couple of months, to hear their views, concerns and ideas about the impact of the virus on their communities.”

Nevertheless, a Department of Health and Social Care representative rejected that just part of the report had actually been released.

“On Tuesday PHE published the rapid data review. The report was published in full,” they stated.

” The important insight that Teacher Fenton and PHE colleagues collected will notify the crucial work that equalities minister Kemi Badenoch will now take forward.”

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The equalities minister confessed in the Commons on Thursday there were “gaps” in the report.

“The report is welcomed, but it hasn’t gone far enough and we will take it where it needs to get to,” Ms Badenoch stated.

Reacting to concerns from MPs, she added: “There was more I was hoping to see from this review.”

However, she stated PHE might not gather information for morbidities, profession and underlying health conditions so might not make recommendations.

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