NEWS22 June 2020

Ethnicity data should be mandatory, says PHE report

Covid-19 Healthcare News UK

UK – Ethnicity data collection should be mandated as part of health and social care data collection, according to a report from Public Health England (PHE) to understand the impact of Covid-19 on BAME groups. 

Covid-19 coronavirus data graph_crop

The health body has released a series of recommendations after its review, conducted in May, found black and minority ethnic (BAME) people were twice as likely to die from Covid-19.

The second report involved a literature review and stakeholder sessions with 4,000 people ‘with a broad range of interests in BAME issues'. It recommends that ‘comprehensive and quality ethnicity data collection’ is mandated as part of routine NHS and social care data collection systems, including death certification.

"Throughout the stakeholder engagement exercise, it was both clearly and consistently expressed that without explicit consideration of ethnicity, racism and structural disadvantage in our responses to Covid-19 and tackling health inequalities there is a risk of partial understanding of the processes producing poor health outcomes and ineffective intervention," the report said.

Data should also be made readily available to local health partners to help them inform actions to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities, according to the report.

PHE also called for more community participatory research to understand the social, cultural, structural, economic, religious, and commercial factors of Covid-19 in BAME communities. 

Improved research and data would "deepen our understanding of the wider socio-economic determinants, improve data recording of faith and ethnicity and greater use of community participatory research", the report said.