ITV News investigation finds majority of NHS Trusts have not completed full risk assessment on BAME staff

Back in April, the head of the NHS Sir Simon Stevens wrote to all hospital Trusts advising them to risk assess all their BAME staff.

So far, so good.

It's now mid-June, and we have discovered a tiny proportion of those Trusts have actually carried out all the assessments.

In fact, only 14 of the 80 NHS Acute Hospital Trusts in England that replied to ITV News' inquiry have completed risk assessments of all BAME staff.

And that's not all.

  • Ifti Majid, Chief Executive of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Only 15 Trusts could provide precise data for how many staff had been risk assessed, and completion rates ranged between 12% and 85%.

There's no doubt this is an appalling situation, given it is common knowledge that BAME communities, especially healthcare workers have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

A clinical nurse in Kent told ITV News she has had her risk assessment but only because she asked for it.

And she knows of many colleagues who haven't been assessed at all.

She isn't surprised about the results.

She told us she feels her and her colleagues simply aren't being protected, adding that it is sad that in 2020 we are having these conversations.

Many of the Trusts told us they are carrying out the assessments but they're just not completed.

Why not I ask? How long does it take to collect the information on how many BAME staff work for the Trusts, then go trough the list and ensure every single one has been contacted?

Under the Health and Safety Work Act it is compulsory for hospitals to comply with the assessments; they have a duty of care to their staff.

ITV News reached out to 170 NHS Acute Hospital Trusts in England. Credit: ITV News

What the government hasn't done, or indeed wants to do, is force members of staff to have the assessment. They say that would be unreasonable. The vast majority do take part in the risk assessment, but forcing people to do it would be strange. Perhaps that's why, for some Trusts, so few have been done.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul is the Chair of the British Medical Association.

He has been shouting about this problem for a long time.

Only 40% of doctors they've asked have been assessed, and they have written to every one of their members encouraging them to get one.

What is going wrong then? NHS England says they do informally monitor the assessment, but given our data, what precisely are they doing to get Trusts to hurry up?

They say they take it extremely seriously and urge all employers to complete them quickly. I would have thought if NHS England were aware of how few had been done they might be coming down on them much stronger. Perhaps they don't know the extent of the problem?

Protecting BAME healthcare workers, we are told, is both the government's and the NHS's priority. If that is so, it's a pretty damning indictment that only 14 Trusts have completed all their risk assessments.

Seven weeks on from the request to conduct them and how many people have become infection or died from coronavirus?