We must do all we can to combat health inequalities

Statement from Healthwatch England National Director, Imelda Redmond and Healthwatch Wokingham Chairman Jim Stockley
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Following the events in the US and news here about the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on people from Black, Asian, and Ethnic Minority communities, our Healthwatch England National Director, Imelda Redmond said:

“We stand in solidarity with people from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities we serve. Recent events must make us all stop, question ourselves and ask what we can all do better.

“What can we do to stand up against racism? How can we help society understand the reasons why people from Black and Asian communities have been so disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? What more can we do to ensure equality and celebrate diversity?

Chair of Healthwatch Wokingham said:

“Racism has no place in any civilised society. We have always sought to amplify the voices of everybody, but we acknowledge that we need to do more to ensure the voices of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are heard and to hold system leaders to account for the action they take in response.  We commit to:

  • Taking positive action to ensure people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities have a voice in health and social care;
  • Reviewing our leadership to increase the representativeness of our decision making and providing training to staff, volunteers and board members;
  • Developing effective and trusting relationships with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community leaders, groups and individuals to ensure we are hearing and amplifying the voices of everyone in Wokingham Borough.”

“If you have had an experience of health and care support, whether good or bad, that services could learn from, I appeal to you come forward, talk to Healthwatch Wokingham and have your say”.

The report from Public Health England highlighted the significant, detrimental impact that COVID-19 has had on people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in the UK:

  • Death rates from COVID-19 were highest amongst people of Black and Asian ethnic groups.
  • People of Bangladeshi ethnicity have twice the risk of death as White British people.
  • Black men were found to be three times more likely to die from COVID-19. Other ethnic groups are also at greater risk.
  • People from Black ethnic groups are most likely to be diagnosed.
  • People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other Asian, Caribbean, and Other Black ethnicity are at 10% - 50% higher risk of death. 
  • Death rates in the most deprived areas are more than double those in the least deprived areas.

The report’s findings show that coronavirus has both replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, increased them.

It is vital we understand the reasons for the disproportionate number of people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic groups that have had COVID-19 and how structural inequalities affect the health and care people receive, which is why we’re asking you to share your experiences of services during the pandemic.

How will my story help?

Sharing the health and/ or social care experiences you or a loved one has had during COVID-19 can help services understand:

  • If you can access the information, support and treatment you need.
  • How COVID-19 has affected healthcare for you and your loved ones.
  • What the key issues and themes are surrounding people’s experiences of health and social care services during the pandemic.
  • Where improvements could be made.

Whether your experience is good, bad or a bit of both, we want to hear it. It only takes a few moments but could make a big difference, locally and nationally.

What you tell us remains anonymous and there will not be repercussions to your current or future care.

How to share your experience

  • by completing our online survey – here
  • through our online form - here
  • calling our help desk 0118 418 1418

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