NHS hospital trust becomes first to class all ethnic minority staff as "vulnerable and at risk"

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An NHS hospital trust will give priority mask fitting and coronavirus test access to its ethnic minority staff, it has announced.

The decision from Somerset Foundation Trust to treat all staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups as "vulnerable and at risk" follows analysis showing people from ethnic minority backgrounds are dying disproportionately from Covid-19 compared to white people.

Less than 10 per cent of the trust's staff are ethnic minorities.

In a letter to staff, the trust's chief executive Peter Lewis said: "While we don't yet have any conclusive research or national guidance, we feel that is the right approach to take. We also hope that you feel comfortable sharing any concerns you have about any underlying conditions so that these can be taken into consideration when planning your work."

Ethnic minority staff and their families will be able to access testing within five days of developing any coronavirus symptoms, and any who need an FFP3 mask, which offers more protection than a normal surgical mask, will be fitted as soon as possible. 

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