The emerging evidence suggests people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This is of significant concern, particularly as people from these communities make such a significant contribution to our NHS and care services.
Last month, we launched an urgent investigation to understand the reasons why BAME communities are at higher risk and established an expert advisory group, co- chaired by Judge Ray Singh and Dr Heather Payne. This is linked to wider work being carried out by Public Health England and NHS England.
The advisory group included two subgroups – one looking at the socio-economic factors, chaired by Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna – and a subgroup to accelerate work on a risk assessment tool for the health and social care workforce, chaired by Professor Keshav Singhal.
Today, the All Wales COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool is being introduced to the NHS and social care. It is a two-stage risk assessment, which is suitable for use for all staff who are vulnerable or at risk of contracting coronavirus, including people from BAME backgrounds.
It has been designed to be a sensitive and supportive process. People can complete the self-assessment and then have a supportive and structured conversation with their line manager to discuss their level of risk to put in place actions to ensure they are protected as far as possible. These may include additional protection, changing working practices or working from home.
I want to thank the advisory group for their work on this risk assessment. It has been developed in a short space of time and will be made available throughout the NHS and social care. Its use will be monitored and reviewed so we can continue to learn and take all measures to protect those who are working so hard to support and care for others.