Poverty a major factor in BAME Covid cases, senior Walsall GP believes

By Gurdip Thandi | Walsall | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Poverty and health inequalities are huge factors behind the black and Asian communities suffering disproportionately from Covid-19, a senior GP believes.

Dr Anand Rischie, chairman of Walsall clinical commissioning group (CCG), said most of the town's confirmed coronavirus cases happened in poor areas where a large number of BAME people live.

And he said a lot of work was going on to address health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which are prevalent amongst these communities.

Dr Rischie was speaking at a Walsall Council scrutiny committee meeting, where members discussed NHS plans for restoring vital services while still coping with the pandemic.

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He said: "If you look at the hot spots in Walsall and where the most prevalent Covid infections have happened, it will be on the most poor and deprived areas.

"Over a number of years, we have been trying to narrow the gap over health inequalities and that is something we will have to continue to do.


"Unfortunately, a lot of our BAME population also live in this kind of poor areas, which are densely populated.


"There is more and more emerging evidence that it is not just respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD but its more metabolic conditions like poorly controlled diabetes and high blood pressure.

"They are bigger factors as to why people have poorer outcomes, along with poor eating habits and poor lifestyle.


"Together we need to address these kind of inequalities so one of the restoration programme that we are focusing on are metabolic factors such as making sure diabetes and hyper-tension patients are looked after first, and prioritise those patient groups.

"There is a second peak around the corner in three of four months. We will have that. Every pandemic has had that so in preparation we will keep the message going about healthy living."

Councillor Stephen Craddock, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said a sub-committee had been formed to look into these issues and reducing inequality.

Mark Axcell, CEO of the Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: "It’s a scary time for some of those people.

"We put a huge amount of support for our BAME staff and their families to make sure they felt supported.

"And we have support workers who go out to hard to hard to reach communities and make sure they know services are there."

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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