More diverse areas have higher rates of Covid deaths

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Data from London Assembly has revealed higher rates of Covid-19 deaths in more ethnically diverse areas, with higher levels of deprivation and poorer ratings of GP satisfaction.

The Assembly’s Health Committee began its analysis during the first wave of the pandemic and has found that boroughs of London with higher numbers of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) residents had poorer ratings of GP satisfaction and higher rates of Covid-19 deaths than less diverse boroughs.

Newham, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, Brent and Barking & Dagenham were found to have the worst combination of GP satisfaction among BAME residents, the highest levels of deprivation and the highest rates of Covid-19 deaths.

Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond Upon Thames, Kingston Upon Thames, Sutton and Wandsworth had the best combination of BAME GP satisfaction, the lowest levels of deprivation and the lowest rates of Covid-19 deaths.

Assembly Member Dr Onkar Sahota, Chair of the Health Committee, said: “The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the BAME community has been heart-breaking to witness, and we cannot allow it to continue.

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“All the evidence shows that we’ve suffered a greater impact because we are, on average, more prone to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, renal disease and poor mental health. We are also more likely to live in overcrowded housing, poorer quality housing, poorer neighbourhoods and work in low-paid, public facing jobs.

“It’s also clear that for those who live in areas of high deprivation, there’s the additional challenge of trying to access treatment from under-funded and under-resourced health services.

“We know that in those areas, struggling services can lead to poorer recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction of the GPs battling to deliver decent services with too little government funding. All of this has a major impact on patients, and it’s likely to have deterred some in the BAME community from receiving adequate treatment during this pandemic.”

Dr Sahota AM called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to use his Covid-19 recovery plan to “help restore faith in those vital public services” among BAME Londoners.

He continued: “Of course, that is very much dependent on central government ensuring those services are properly resourced. It’s therefore vital that local and national government work together to make this a top priority in a time when easy access to good healthcare has never been more important.”

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