Addressing impact of COVID-19 on BAME staff in the NHS

We know there is evidence of disproportionate mortality and morbidity amongst black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people, including our NHS staff, who have contracted COVID-19.

It is critical that we understand which groups are most at risk, so we can take concerted action to protect them.

The key areas of focus for NHS England and NHS Improvement are below.

Protection of staff

The first area of focus in our work is to address the impact of COVID-19 on BAME staff in the NHS and the protection of all staff (including returning staff).

This section will be updated with our work in this area, including risk assessments that specifically consider the physical and mental health of BAME staff, and ensuring that all staff feel able and empowered to raise concerns safely.

Risk assessments for staff: As we continue to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on our BAME colleagues, our immediate focus is ensuring staff safety. On 30 April, NHS Employers published guidance for NHS organisations to take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, including taking ethnicity and age into account alongside other factors.

Risk Reduction Framework for NHS staff at risk of COVID-19 infection: This resource will help employers as they work with staff and people managers to assess risk and take enhanced mitigating actions – for example access to counselling and health checks as well as deployment decisions.

Engagement with staff and staff networks

Engagement with staff and staff networks is being strengthened and prioritised to enable NHS decision makers to hear and learn from Our NHS people’s lived experience. Meaningful dialogue and active listening will result in real change across the NHS.

We continue to engage with existing BAME, faith and other staff networks and other staff groups as well as senior regional leads on importance of equality and inclusion.

Representation in decision making

Representation in decision making will ensure that BAME colleagues have influence over decisions that affect them.

The NHS is built on diversity and must embrace diversity of thought to ensure everyone counts.

Data collection, including that which contributes to the workforce race equality standard (WRES) which was originally paused as part of the response to COVID-19.

Rehabilitation and recovery

Our NHS people continue to do extraordinary things in the face of an extraordinary challenge and continue to need an extraordinary level of support.

This is why the NHS nationally and locally has developed a range of wellbeing support to care for and protect everyone, whether at the front line or in supporting services.

A bespoke health and wellbeing offer (including rehabilitation and recovery) for BAME colleagues is being created in addition to the range of resources already available.

Supporting our people

All our people, whether substantively employed or agency workers continue have access to a range of support (#OurNHSPeople Wellbeing Support) through one point of contact:

  • We have launched a free to access dedicated bereavement and trauma support line for colleagues of Filipino origin based on feedback on our engagement. The free to access and confidential line, operated by Hospice UK 0300 303 11 15 is available seven days a week 8.00 am – 8.00 pm.

We encourage NHS teams to continue to take advantage of these services. They can be used in addition to the support available from your own NHS organisations. If you would like to give us any feedback or how we could improve our offer, please email

Communications and media

We know that the contribution of our BAME colleagues is not fully represented in the mainstream media. In order to create positive communication from, with and about BAME staff and patients, we will start by creating short videos presented by our senior leaders profiling the role our BAME staff are playing and thanking BAME staff.

We will also continue to have more representation in our spokespeople.