Last reviewed 2 June 2020

NHS England has released updated guidance on how employers can assess the risk to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers from Covid-19.

Compiled by NHS Employers on behalf of NHS England, this latest version of the guidance provides more detail on how to assess and mitigate risks for BAME staff.

Within the NHS, 40% of doctors and 20% of nurses are from BAME backgrounds, as are substantial numbers of health care support workers and ancillary staff. Emerging evidence shows that BAME communities are disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and the reasons for this are not yet fully understood, according to the guidance.

It says organisations should make sure that line managers are supported to have sensitive and comprehensive conversations with their BAME staff, recognising the long-standing context of the poorer experience of BAME in all parts of the NHS. It says they should “identify any existing underlying health conditions that may increase the risks for them in undertaking their frontline roles, in any capacity” and, most importantly, the conversations should also, on an ongoing basis, consider the feelings of BAME colleagues, particularly regarding both their physical safety, their psychological safety, and their mental health.

The guidance signposts to "a range of approaches" to assessment, some including scoring, so healthcare managers can decide how to apply them in their own organisations.

A signpost to a risk stratification tool produced by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin is listed, which is behind the approach now being used by NHS Wales.

The guidance also refers to occupational health advice for BAME and other staff drawn up by Guys’ and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.

NHS Employers said that it received a variety of feedback about its original guidance including from trade union representatives, NHS England and key stakeholders, which has been taken into account in the update.

The NHS Employers "Risk Assessment for Staff" guidance is available at: https://www.nhsemployers.org/covid19/health-safety-and-wellbeing/risk-assessments-for-staff