The Anti-Racist Alliance Trust (aratrust) GREETS workers in the UK and throughout the world! We stand side by side with you, working to eradicate racism, poverty, inequalities in health, employment, housing and education, and to safeguard our environment. We particularly salute those workers from across the world who have made great sacrifices to come and work in our health service – without them the NHS wouldn’t function adequately. They came to care for us and save our lives but tragically, like health workers born in the UK, some of them have lost their own lives to COVID-19.
We stand four square with all the front-line workers who are risking their lives caring, providing food and equipment, and transporting supplies and people doing essential work that they cannot do at home during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Out of respect for all people, we support front-line staff, trade unionists, journalists, politicians and others struggling for adequate testing, sufficient up-to-standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and contact-tracing to effectively curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus and reach a point where there will be no new cases.
Aratrust is alarmed at the emerging evidence of disproportionate adverse impacts of Covid-19 on healthcare workers from black and minority-ethnic backgrounds. According to a recent BMA survey of thousands of frontline doctors battling COVID-19, published on 24/04/2020:
- All but one of the 17 doctors who were known to have died after contracting COVID-19 were from BAME backgrounds.
- Almost double the proportion of BAME doctors (64%) have felt pressured to work in settings with inadequate PPE where aerosol-generating procedures are carried out exposing them to risk of infection, compared with 33% of doctors who identified as white.
- Only four out of 10 BAME doctors in general practice said they had sufficient PPE for safe contact with patients with possible or confirmed COVID-19 or those with non-COVID-19 symptoms. A far greater proportion, seven out of 10 doctors who identified as white, said the same (1).
In another study published in the Health Service Journal, the researchers found that of 106 NHS health and social care workers who had died from the virus up to 22/04/20:
- BAME workers accounted for 63% of the deaths.
- In the case of doctors and dentists, this rose to 94%, despite BAME doctors and dentists making up only 44% of the workforce.
This study also found that 66% of NHS workers who died were not born in the UK (2).
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These disproportionate adverse impacts on black and minority-ethnic health and social care workers are reflected in recent research from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre which reveals that 34% of the critically ill Covid-19 cases in hospitals in England and Wales come from black and minority-ethnic backgrounds (3), whereas people from black and minority-ethnic backgrounds constitute only 17% of the population (4).
All disproportionate adverse impacts of Covid 19 on healthcare workers and the black and minority-ethnic population must be identified and action taken. Long-standing health and other societal inequalities must once again be addressed and the institutionalised racism that has limited change so far must be counteracted. A better world is necessary!
Aratrust is a multi-ethnic charity, whose Board Members, Supporters and volunteers reflect today’s UK. This year we won’t be out in the streets celebrating May Day as we will be implementing social distancing at home to help to limit the spread of the Covid 19 virus.
Sadly our normal everyday activities supporting the community through advice work and wellbeing sessions, reducing social isolation and facilitating access to employment through ESOL and ICT training and volunteering, as well as our activities for young people, families and children, will be severely reduced until after the epidemic.
Aratrust’s volunteering opportunities for job-seekers with individualised on-the-job training and opportunities for team-work as well as individual work, have made life-changing differences to many of the job-seekers on work-experience with us. Volunteers have informed us that they got responses to their job applications, interviews and employment offers for the first time because of their specific experience with aratrust.
Aratrust’s young workers’, youth and children’s activities, delivered through our Young Citizens (18-25 years old), Young Activists (secondary school aged young people, and Young Explorers (primary school aged children) groups have been attracting a growing number of children and young people year on year (over 100 at the last count) for 7 years
Each year aratrust also assists between 100 and 500 members of the public (depending on funding), particularly with housing issues and access to entitlements, with a growing number of appeals, the great majority of which are successful.
Whilst it is very sad to see these services reduced or completely suspended during the epidemic, we can look forward to a bright future when these services are not only resumed but expanded, as we have already started investing our time working at home in research and organisation-building.
We are proud that aratrust has always been a grass-roots organisation financially supported and controlled by its members and never dependent on grants or high-level political patronage. Aratrust aims to grow as an organisation and, after the pandemic, expand its services to meet ever-increasing demand. YOU can support this work by donating* on a one-off, annual or monthly basis and / or by donating your skills through volunteering.
*If you want to make a donation and are a tax-payer, please ask us for a Gift Aid declaration form. A Gift Aid donation increases the value of your donation to us by 25%, which we can claim from HMRC, and YOU can reduce you tax liability by the amount of your donation!
- (1) BMA survey (24.04.2020) https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/bame-doctors-hit-worse-by-lack-of-ppe
- (2) The Health Service Journal https://www.hsj.co.uk/exclusive-deaths-of-nhs-staff-from-covid-19-analysed/7027471.article