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Covid-19: BAME Health

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons on 23rd June 2020.

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Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North

What assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on the health of people in BAME communities.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

There was a passionate debate on this issue last Thursday. As I said then, there is no doubt that covid-19 has upended our lives. The virus cruelly discriminates by many factors, including age, gender and ethnicity. There are still gaps in our understanding of occupational risks and co-morbidity that need attention. My hon. Friend the Minister for Equalities will be taking forward important cross-Government work with the Equality Hub, Public Health England and others.

Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North

We now know the full extent to which covid and other health inequalities affect black and minority ethnic communities, and the extent to which that is reflected in regional inequalities, but does the Minister also understand how much such inequality prevails within boroughs? In my local authority, there is a 16-year life expectancy gap between the poorest communities and the wealthiest, which reflects the disparity with black and minority ethnic communities. Will she ensure that an equalities review tackles inequality within boroughs as well as between them, and will there be funding to support that?

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

We know that health inequalities are stubborn, persistent and difficult to change—we knew that before covid-19, but that is not a reason to accept them. We fully agree that more needs to be done to reduce the disparity in health outcomes within the BAME community and the broader community. That is why we will ensure that the work on health inequalities goes on at pace.