The Pharmacy Defence Association (PDA) has urged governments in the four nations of the UK to take necessary steps to mitigate Covid-19 risk to BAME pharmacists, who make up approximately 46 per cent of the total workforce.
It has also raised concerns over the higher death rates from Covid-19 among BAME populations and urged for a probe into understanding why the the community was being disproportionately impacted.
The PDA, in its letters to the governments in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, said: “We need an independent inquiry to understand why the BAME community is disproportionately impacted, whether the substantially higher levels of BAME deaths could have been prevented, and to generate more understanding so as to better protect frontline health-care staff at higher-risk.”
The association further noted: “…this is important for this group, their families, and patients across the UK. The current advice for employers to “risk assess” staff and “make appropriate arrangements accordingly” lacks clarity, particularly considering the unacceptable PPE shortages some staff are still facing.”
PDA urged for better guidance and support from the governments to ensure high-risk BAME workers are better protected.
The efforts of the BAME community pharmacists to care for the people of the UK must not be left unsupported and unrecognised by the government during the pandemic, it cautioned.
Alima Batchelor, PDA Head of Policy said: “This is an example of an issue with a potentially profound impact on our BAME members and their families which legitimately calls for consideration of the factors which may be contributing to the stark difference in mortality rates. The network enhances our capacity to do that.
“Concerns over the health and safety at work of all pharmacists, particularly as lockdown is relaxed, is at the top of PDA’s priorities.”
The letters also called for an independent inquiry to understand why the BAME community is disproportionately impacted, whether the substantially higher levels of BAME deaths could have been prevented, and to protect health-care staff at higher-risk and on the frontlines.