A group of primary care professionals working in Leeds have created a network to collectively ‘tackle health and wider social inequalities’ affecting ethnic minority staff and communities.
The Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) network, which launches today, aims to bring primary care staff together to gather ‘unique insights into staff and patient experiences’, which can then be ‘used to narrow the inequalities gap,’ NHS Leeds CCG chief executive Tim Ryley, said.
Leeds GP Confederation chief executive Jim Barwick referred to the new network as ‘ground-breaking,’ and said the group hopes that it can ‘inspire other similar networks, nationally’.
The group is hosting an online launch event at 6:30pm tonight, which will feature talks from various local health leaders and NHS England medical director Dr Nikita Kanani.
Lead organiser and Leeds GP Dr Mohammed Sattar said: ‘Working in primary care, we get to see first-hand how inequalities can lead to issues affecting a person’s health and wellbeing.
‘These inequalities have become more apparent as Covid-19 took hold in the UK, and have highlighted that we need to do much more to help the most disadvantaged people in the city.’
Last month, Public Health England (PHE) confirmed that some ethnic minority groups are up to twice as likely to die from coronavirus compared to their white counterparts, after taking account of outside factors, including age and deprivation levels.
In a subsequent report, PHE added that ‘historic racism and poorer experiences of healthcare or at work may mean that BAME individuals are less likely to seek care when needed or as NHS staff, less likely to speak up when they have concerns about PPE or testing’.
Dr Sattar continued: ‘I’m a passionate believer that if we get this right for BAME communities, other sections of society will also benefit. Now is the time for action.’
Mr Ryley, who will also speak at tonight’s webinar, added: ‘As the organisation responsible for commissioning and funding health services for the city, we have a duty to get this right so that no one is disadvantaged on the basis of race or any other factors that can contribute to health inequalities’.
Primary care staff in Leeds can join the network or get access to today’s online event by emailing: [email protected]