"BAME communities need answers."
Ministers have been criticised after the release of the BAME Covid-19 review was delayed.
This has led to accusations that they are not taking seriously the threat Covid-19 poses to BAME citizens.
The report had been commissioned to analyse how factors such as ethnicity, obesity and gender can affect people’s vulnerability to Covid-19 but has already missed the publication deadline set for the end of May.
Health bosses sought “insight” after it was reported that deaths among BAME communities were disproportionately high.
Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women and equalities secretary said:
“It is unacceptable that this review should be delayed without a given date for its publication. BAME communities need answers.”
Dr Channd Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“The government’s commissioned review by Public Health England (PHE) needs to be concluded as soon as possible in order for us to make sense of why this dreadful virus is impacting so adversely on the BAME community and, most importantly, what needs to be done to urgently protect them.”
The health secretary Matt Hancock announced the review’s launch in early May. He said:
“We recognise that there has been a disproportionately high number of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds who have passed away, especially among care workers and those in the NHS.”
It had been claimed that the report was delayed because it is in “close proximity to the current situation in America”, where protestors are demanding an end to police brutality against black people.
A source said it would be a “bad combination” if the review was released amid such tensions.
Protests spread across America after witnessing a police officer put his knee over the neck of George Floyd, causing his death.
However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) denied reports that the delay was down to concerns of potential civil unrest.
“It is not true to say this has been delayed due to global events.”
A spokesperson said: “Ministers received initial findings today. They are being rapidly considered and a report will be published this week.”
The review has been led by Professor Kevin Fenton. It looks at why it appears that BAME people are dying disproportionately from Covid-19.
It will look at the health records of more than a thousand people who tested positive for Coronavirus and also take into account a number of studies that highlight the issue.
PHE said that the report will be published shortly.