Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
27 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

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

By Samuel Horti

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. 

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy