Health experts say race report is 'putting more ethnic minority lives at risk' 1 year ago

Health experts say race report is 'putting more ethnic minority lives at risk'

Health experts writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) have lambasted the government's race and ethnic disparity report, describing it as lacking "scientific credibility and authority to be used for major policy decisions"

The authors of the piece have said the Sewell Report will be "putting more ethnic minority lives at risk", describing the data it used as "cherry-picked to support a particular narrative."

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In response to the report's claims that it is not racism but factors like geography and socio-economic inequality that is driving inequality, the experts accuse Sewell's findings of ignoring "the overwhelming evidence" that systemic racism is "a major driver of ethnic differences in socio-economic status."

Their intervention comes after the government have been widely criticised for their race and ethnic disparities report, which claims that institutional racism is not a factor in racial inequality in the UK - and after it was revealed by Politico that Boris Johnson's most senior Black advisor, Samuel Kasumu, resigned on the day of the report's release.

The experts writing in the BMJ state that "structural racism is an important factor in ethnic disparities in health", and that this "will not come as a surprise to anyone who has looked at the evidence."

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The writers slam the composition of the report's committee, stating that it did not include a heath expert or biomedical scientist - but was instead comprised of a space scientist, a retired diplomat, a political graduate, a TV presenter, and an English literature graduate.

In their scathing assessment of Sewell's report, the authors say it undoes "several decades of irrefutable peer-reviewed research evidence on ethnic disparities, previous governments’ reports, and independent reviews all reaching similar conclusions: ethnic minorities have the worst health outcomes on almost all health parameters."

The authors cite stark data which shows Black and South Asian men are 4.2 times and 3.6 times respectively more likely to die from Covid-19, Black women are nearly five times more likely to die in childbirth, and Black people are four times more likely to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act - as well as ethnic minorities suffering the worst socio-economic fall out of the pandemic.

The writers of the piece argue the report is "inconsistent and incomplete", and "the devastating effects of Covid-19 on ethnic minorities have exposed and aggravated the structural socioeconomic disadvantages experienced by ethnic minority communities."

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They also state the report's methodology, language, the political bias of its authors, and its "lack of scientific expertise" makes the report "more suitable as a political manifesto."

In summary, the authors claim the report is "divorced from reality", failing to provide "any solutions" when it comes to racial inequality, and say this will ultimately put more ethnic minority lives at risk.

The Department for Health and Social Care have been approached for comment.