Call for ethnic minority healthcare workers in new COVID-19 study

Ethnic minority healthcare staff are being called upon to take part in the largest research study investigating the risks of COVID-19Ethnic minority healthcare staff are being urged take part in the largest research study investigating the risks of COVID-19.

In a £2.1 million project led by the University of Leicester, the study will analyse the risk for 30,000 clinical and non-clinical staff.

It was kicked off after evidence revealed that those of ethnic minority backgrounds had double the risk of severe COVID-19 infection in comparison to the white population.

Supported by the General Dental Council (GDC), General Medical Council (GMC) and other leading bodies, the research hopes to capture how the pandemic has affected the lives of healthcare workers.

High risk of severe illness

The study will follow healthcare participants from ethnic minority backgrounds for a 12 month period.

Researchers will analyse any changes in their physical and mental health as well as how risky their jobs are. They will also examine how they have adapted both their professional and social behaviours in response to the virus.

Non-clinical staff who are integral to the day-to-day running of healthcare institutions will also be assessed. For example, kitchen staff, cleaners and porters.

Dr Manish Pareek is associate clinical professor in infectious diseases at the University of Leicester. He is also an honorary consultant in infectious diseases at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

‘We have significant evidence to show that COVID-19 poses a higher risk of severe illness and death for people from ethnic minority backgrounds,’ he said.

‘This is also exacerbated for our clinical and non-clinical healthcare staff. They are front facing and have played an incredible part in keeping others safe and well.

Deeper understanding

‘This is the first time that a study of such scale is being conducted into this issue. It is vital that ethnic minority healthcare workers are encouraged to participate. This is so we can develop a deeper understanding of how the virus works and affects different groups.

‘Ultimately, we want this research to improve the lives of healthcare staff and help save lives. It is vital, therefore, that we can come together from all professions for one cause.’

Regulators will contact healthcare workers with details on how to get involved.

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