A NEW risk assessment is today being launched to support people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in the NHS and social care in Wales.

The two-stage risk assessment is designed to help to reduce people’s risk of contracting coronavirus in the workplace.

The all-Wales COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool is the first major piece of work from an advisory group set up to look at the reasons why people from BAME communities are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus.

Sadly, many health and social care workers who have died from coronavirus have come from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.

First Minister Mark Drakeford launched an urgent investigation in April to understand the reasons for the higher risk to BAME communities and established the advisory group, co-chaired by Judge Ray Singh and Dr Heather Payne.

It included two subgroups - one focusing on the risk assessment, and a second looking at the socio-economic factors which may influence poorer coronavirus outcomes.

“Against the backdrop of growing evidence that coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on people from BAME backgrounds, the advisory group has developed this risk assessment tool, which I hope will help people understand their risk of infection and feel empowered to take action to minimise that risk," Mr Drakeford.

“The all-Wales COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool is the result of very swift research and investigation by the advisory group, for which I am very grateful.”

At the daily Welsh Government coronavirus press briefing, health minister Vaughan Gething said: “More than one-third of people critically ill in English, Welsh and Northern Irish hospitals are from BAME backgrounds, compared with 18 per cent of the (overall) population.

“We don’t yet fully understand why (more people are dying from BAME backgrounds), but we know people from these communities are more likely to suffer from conditions like Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.”

The new tool will allow individuals to assess whether their risk is low, high, or very high, allowing them to have a “supportive and structured conversation with their line manager” about what can be done to protect them “as far as possible”. He added later:

“Employers have a duty of care to protect people’s health and safety at work and this includes understanding the extra risk from COVID-19. This duty of care includes ensuring an equitable approach for all staff.”


Mr Gething also said that after this coming Thursday’s discussions on lockdown guidelines, the First Minister will provide an update on whether Wales will be lifting the guidelines.

He said the Welsh Government is “considering the harm” the lockdown is doing to retailers and the economy, as well as to people’s mental health - and he expects coronavirus testing centres in Wales to offer bookings through the UK government testing website by the end of the week.

Key workers have not been able to use it to book appointments at drive-in testing centres in Wales, with some saying they have driven as far as Devon to get a test.

“That is not acceptable,” said Mr Gething.

“Testing is available in Wales for Welsh critical workers, and we will continue to work with the providers of the UK website and the 119 telephone system to iron out any of these quirks in the system."