Source: London Assembly
New London Assembly data, published today, connects higher levels of deprivation, poorer ratings of GP satisfaction and higher numbers of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) residents to higher rates of COVID-19 deaths.
The analysis was undertaken by the Health Committee since the first wave of the pandemic hit London. To investigate how health services have been impacted for the people they serve, the committee analysed and correlated the experience of GP services data, population diversity, Index of Multiple Deprivation and ONS COVID-19 deaths in London.
GP services are a key part in the COVID-19 vaccine roll out plans across London, a city home to one of the most complex social makeups in the world. The findings are the first to put data behind experiences of London’s healthcare system in the first six months of the pandemic for different ethnicities.
The research has revealed trends where more ethnically diverse and deprived boroughs have lower GP satisfaction and higher COVID-19 deaths. As the boroughs get less diverse and deprived, GP experiences and COVID-19 death rates improve.
The boroughs which have the worst combination of BAME GP satisfaction, highest deprivation and most COVID-19 deaths are:
- Tower Hamlets
- Barking & Dagenham.
The boroughs which have the best combination of BAME GP satisfaction, lowest deprivation and fewest COVID-19 deaths are:
- Richmond upon Thames
- Kingston upon Thames
- Kensington and Chelsea
Dr Onkar Sahota AM, 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. 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.
“As part of his COVID-19 recovery plans, the Mayor needs to build in proposals to help restore faith in those vital frontline services, and particularly amongst BAME Londoners. 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.”