Combined Healthcare Supports BAME Colleagues During COVID-19

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust has applied additional measures to protect its staff from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trust has taken further steps to protect BAME staff in response to reports from Public Health England, which show that these groups of people are more likely to be adversely affected by COVID-19.

Since the outbreak, the Trust has implemented various changes to support and protect all staff, and has strengthened its infection prevention procedures, including offering single-use prayer mats and disposable religious headwear.

Changes announced today to support BAME staff in particular include offering Risk Assessments to identify any potential factors which may increase their risk, free health check appointments with occupational health, and dedicated health and wellbeing resources on the intranet.

Shajeda Ahmed, Director of Workforce, OD & Inclusion, said: “This is clearly a very worrying time for everyone but, in light of the emerging evidence, a particularly concerning time for our BAME colleagues and their families.

“The health and safety of our colleagues is our number-one priority as they put their lives at risk every day to care for our service users. We want to do whatever we can to ensure our staff feel safe, healthy and supported during this challenging time. So we are pleased to announce these extra measures to protect those from BAME backgrounds who are shown to be at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus.

“All of our colleagues are demonstrating incredible strength to respond to the crisis. Our aim is to help alleviate any concerns staff may have whilst working for Combined Healthcare during this period. Whilst this offer was initially produced to support our BAME colleagues, the offers extend to anyone who is concerned about their health issues.”

Combined Healthcare will be working closely with the national NHS work stream, which is specifically looking at what can be done to support BAME NHS workers and also BAME local communities.

Detailed information of the support available for employees and managers is published on the Trust intranet.