FPH and our Equality and Diversity Special Interest Group, on behalf of the FPH Equality & Diversity Committee, are concerned by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report of 31 March 2021.
Racism and discrimination against minority ethnic groups remains prevalent in today’s society, and we are disappointed that this unacceptable injustice is not properly reflected in the Commission’s report.
PHE’s recent disparities review made it clear that minority ethnic populations are experiencing severe inequalities in relation to COVID-19, with the report showing that “people of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other Asian, Black Caribbean and other Black ethnicity had between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British”.
The experiences of these groups in relation to COVID-19 are illustrative of the wider problem of systemic inequalities, with the Government’s 2018 Race Disparity audit making clear that “there are disparities between ethnic groups in all areas of life affected by public organisations”.
As FPH made clear in our statement on racism and inequalities, these societal injustices manifest adversely not only on health outcomes, but compound intersectionally through limited access to education, jobs, housing and other fundamental needs which we recognise as the wider determinants of health.
Despite these findings, and the wide body of robust evidence demonstrating the deep inequalities experienced by minority ethnic groups in society today, the Commission’s report has failed to recognise the severity of this public health crisis. Additionally, there are concerns about the selective use and interpretation of evidence in the reports conclusions.
Determined action is needed to tackle the fundamental causes of racial and ethnic disparities, and FPH is concerned that this report may damage this important work, and is committed to addressing these issues through continuing work by the committee and SIG.