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9 Jun 2020

Professor Fenton speaks for the first time since government report into BAME Covid risk factors

Home Affairs Correspondent

It’s the first time we’ve heard Professor Fenton speak since he handed his review in to the government over a week ago – and since the government decided not to publish his section of the report.

He had engaged with over 4,000 groups from BAME communities when researching his review and the decision not to publish what he learnt has caused anger, with many asking why.

Professor Fenton was speaking at public meeting on Health in Hackney and have an insight into his findings. He said four things struck him from those community engagement sessions.

Firstly, the risk that social economic deprivation plays on the role of vulnerabilities of BAME communities.

Secondly, Occupational risk, with BAME communities facing a higher risk from Covid by virtue of the frontline jobs they do.

Thirdly, comorbidaties such as diabetes, which are more prevalent in these communities.

And then finally, and most interestingly in light of the row about his report not being published – structural issues including racism, discrimination, stigma and distrust.

Reflecting on his recommendations, he said that we need to think about think what are we going to improve these social and structural issues.

It’s these structural issues that many in the BAME community wanted the government to address. Many have told Channel 4 News that by omitting these issues, the report that was published was a whitewash.

The government told us they are building on Professor Fenton’s valuable work and they have appointed the junior equalities minister Kemi Badenoch to take it forward.