Can Covid cure healthcare of its race bias?

The pandemic has, again, revealed that health outcomes for people of Black and minority ethnic communities are worse than for white people. In terms of healthcare staff, the highest proportions of BAME NHS and care staff are found in more junior, non-medical positions – nursing auxiliaries, porters and cleaning teams for example. In terms of patient outcomes, when adjusting for age and excluding care home residents, the rate of death among Black African males was 3.8 times higher, and for Black African females 2.9 times higher, than for white males / females respectively. Further, negative prior (pre-Covid) experiences of the healthcare system is said to be a key factor in higher vaccine hesitancy in these same communities. What is driving race bias in healthcare – from underrepresentation to the absence of race disaggregated data in research, to clinical and cultural misunderstandings – and how do we begin to tackle it?

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editor and invited experts

James Harding
Editor and Co-founder

Dr Mohammed Razai
Academic Clinical Fellow in Primary Care, St George’s

Dr Pragya Agarwal, Author, Behavioural and Data Scientist

Jo Bibby
Director of Health, The Health Foundation