Royal College of Surgeons supports removing BAME staff from ‘danger’ of Covid-19 front line

30 April 2020, 09:57 | Updated: 30 April 2020, 10:03

There are calls today to take BAME workers off the front-line of the fight against coronavirus
There are calls today to take BAME workers off the front-line of the fight against coronavirus. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The president-elect of the Royal College of Surgeons has called for BAME front-line workers to be 'removed from danger.'

Professor Neil Mortensen, president-elect of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), told Sky News that BAME workers "are a particularly at-risk group."

"Like other at-risk groups, I think they need to not be put in positions where they're not quite so at risk.

"We don't really quite no why yet, but it's important they are removed from - if you like - from danger."

But the remarks added to concerns that the NHS would be under increased pressure if a large section of its workforce was taken away.

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Data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre suggests 34.5% of critically ill Covid-19 patients have BAME backgrounds and that people from that group are more adversely affected by the virus.

This is despite just 10.8% of the population being black or Asian, according to the 2011 census.

Sabby Dhalu, co-convenor of Stand Up To Racism, said at an event last night: "The massively disproportionate impact Covid-19 has had on African, Asian and Caribbean communities is a tragic and preventable disaster.

"It highlights the enormous injustices that already exist in society that were exacerbated as a result of the hostile environment.

"We need a public inquiry to investigate this issue, and an ongoing campaign to challenge injustices and demand PPE and testing for all."

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