In recent weeks it has become clear that COVID-19 has a disproportionate impact on people from BAME communities. This is highlighted by this Report from the Royal College of Psychiatry, “Impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff in mental healthcare settings - assessment and management of risk “.
This comes together with the horrendous death of George Floyd in the US, a manifestation of the systemic and ingrained racism that still exists abroad and in the UK. We want to acknowledge in this time when we are all feeling stressed and anxious, that BAME ACP members are likely to be suffering even greater levels of distress and worry. We recognise the huge impact that both situations have, and how at times people might feel silenced, as the above RCPsych report highlights.
We are standing against racial injustice and tackling inequalities in our profession. Our Diversity and Equality Working Group has started work on looking at the complex issues involved in addressing systemic racism and other issues in relation to diversity in our profession. We are making efforts to tackle inequalities in the profession, to increase our BAME workforce and to provide opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds. But COVID-19, and the recent painful events in the US and the UK, have shown us there is much more to do.
We want to help ensure that all members have access to the support they need. We especially want to support members from BAME communities to be heard. We offer this advice, together with these sources of support:
All members, especially those in vulnerable groups, including BAME communities, are entitled to access proper assessment of their needs and appropriate support at work. This includes members at all stages of their career, including older members, those with health conditions and trainees.
More senior members, especially those in Heads of Service roles, can help by ensuring that all trainees and staff in their service are listened to.
The NHS has a Race Equality Standard (referred to in the RCPsych report) which means that every worker is entitled to an assessment of the risks to them as an individual, including risks relating to going back to work in person, travelling to and from work etc
Members with concerns can contact the ACP, and the Union, for support if they feel their voice is not being heard locally or they are not getting the response they need. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, we are planning a Zoom event at which ACP members from BAME communities can voice their concerns, hear from others, receive advice from our Employment Standards Group Lead and Union reps, and let the ACP know what else we can do by way of support. The event will be led by members of the Diversity and Equality Working Group from BAME backgrounds. BAME members at all stages of their career, including trainees, in the NHS, in private practice and in the third sector are welcome to join this event.
The ACP Board
In consultation with the COVID-19 Response Team and the Diversity and Equality Working Group