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British Medical Association chief calls on government to investigate why more black and ethnic minority doctors are dying from coronavirus

British Medical Association chief calls on government to investigate why more black and ethnic minority doctors are dying from coronavirus
  • Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'It seems hard to see how this could be random'  
  • Three out of six nurses named as having died have also been BAME 
  • And a third of patients in intensive care are from a BAME background  
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
The head of the British Medical Association has called on the government to investigate if and why black, Asian and minority ethnic people are more likely to die from coronavirus
The first ten doctors to die in the UK from Covid-19 were all BAME - with ancestry from regions including Asia, the Middle East and Africa. 
Although BAME staff make up 44 per cent of medical personnel in the NHS, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that fact that all who have died were from ethnic minorities was 'extremely disturbing'. 
Dr Nagpaul told The Guardian: 'At face value, it seems hard to see how this can be random – to have the first 10 doctors of all being of BAME background.
The first ten doctors to die in the UK from Covid-19 were all BAME - with ancestry from regions including Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Pictured is Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, who passed away in hospital after a 15-day battle against the virus
The first ten doctors to die in the UK from Covid-19 were all BAME - with ancestry from regions including Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Pictured is Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, who passed away in hospital after a 15-day battle against the virus
'Not only that, we also know that in terms of the BAME population, they make up about a third of those in intensive care.' 
As well as the 10 doctors, three out of six nurses who died from the virus were BAME as was a hospital pharmacist and at least one healthcare assistant. 
The overall death figures in the UK have not been broken down by ethnicity but early research published this week showed that 35 per cent of almost 2,000 patients in intensive care units were non-white.
Dr Nagpaul said BAME health professionals are concerned about the deaths of their colleagues and what it might mean for them. The BMA chair said it might be too early to get firm answers but that it needed to be investigated.Dr Fayaz Ayache, 72, died six days after being taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance
Dr Fayaz Ayache, 72, died six days after being taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance
He mused as to whether BAME doctors felt less able to complain about inadequate personal protective equipment.   
'BAME doctors often feel bullied and harassed at higher levels compared to their white counterparts,' he said. 
He said the death of BAME doctors was particularly upsetting because of 'the vast majority – I think only one was born here – who have come from overseas and have given their lives to the NHS, to save the lives of others'.
Dr Fayaz Ayache, 72, died six days after being taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance.  
The grandfather, who lived in Raydon in Suffolk and was born in Syria, had been diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia and coronavirus.Dr Amged El-Hawrani became the UK's first front-line hospital doctor to die from coronavirus following warnings that a lack of protective equipment would cost medical staff lives
Dr Amged El-Hawrani became the UK's first front-line hospital doctor to die from coronavirus following warnings that a lack of protective equipment would cost medical staff lives
Dr Ayache had stopped working about three and a half weeks ago due to the risk of coronavirus, his daughter said.  
Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, passed away in hospital after a 15-day battle against the virus. 
Just three weeks ago, the doctor, who was born in Bangladesh, wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to 'urgently' ensure PPE was available for 'each and every NHS worker in the UK'.
And Dr Alfa Saadu, originally from Nigeria, was described by his family as a 'passionate' physician who had come out of retirement to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Britain.
The 68-year-old doctor, who died on March 31 after fighting the virus for two weeks, had been working at Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Dr Alfa Saadu, originally from Nigeria, was described by his family as a 'passionate' physician who had come out of retirement to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Britain
Dr Alfa Saadu, originally from Nigeria, was described by his family as a 'passionate' physician who had come out of retirement to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Britain
Dr Habib Zaidi's grieving family said the GP 'sacrificed' his life to take care of his patients.
The doctor, who came to the UK from Pakistan in the early 1970s, became ill on March 24 and died just 24 hours later in hospital. 
Test results for Covid-19 came back positive yesteday - and his daughter Sarah, a GP at his practice in Essex, had earlier said he had 'textbook symptoms'. 
Dr Amged El-Hawrani became the UK's first front-line hospital doctor to die from coronavirus following warnings that a lack of protective equipment would cost medical staff lives. 
And Dr Anton Sebastianpillai, a consultant geriatrician, died on Saturday at Kingston Hospital in South West London after he was admitted to its intensive care unit on March 31. 
The doctor had come out of retirement to help with the coronavirus epidemic. Dr Anton Sebastianpillai, a consultant geriatrician, died on Saturday at Kingston Hospital in South West London after he was admitted to its intensive care unit on March 31
Dr Anton Sebastianpillai, a consultant geriatrician, died on Saturday at Kingston Hospital in South West London after he was admitted to its intensive care unit on March 31
Among the wider BAME population, he suggested the fact that many were in key worker roles, combined with their living arrangements, could be contributing to their disproportionate presence in intensive care units. 
He questioned whether enough measures were being put in place to translate information about coronavirus for those who do not speak English as their first language.  
He said difficulties speaking English could lead to problems accessing NHS 111 either online or on the phone.
Dr Nagpaul also underlined that diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease are more likely to affect those in BAME communities.   
He said the best advice for BAME doctors to protect themselves against Covid-19 until more was known about the virus was the same as for any of their colleagues.  
The Department of Health and Social Care said it was working hard to protect all communities, adding that translations of the public information leaflet, posted to all 30 million households in the UK, were available on its website. 

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