Covid-19 has shone a spotlight on many different health inequalities, and there is an article exploring this in more detail in the June edition of Paramedic INSIGHT.
This pandemic has of course, affected every one of us both personally and professionally, in many different ways. Our profession is continuing to work on the frontline alongside other colleagues in health and social care, despite the ongoing challenges. In comparison to the other Allied Health Professions we have seen more tragic deaths among paramedics and ambulance colleagues, which is both heart-breaking and worrying. Some of our profession, particularly those with underlying health issues, are having to shield at home, instead of doing what they would have expected to do at a time of national crisis; being where the emergency is, helping others.
It has also become clear that BAME colleagues are being disproportionately affected and make up a significant proportion of health and social care staff who have died. NHS England’s Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens and Amanda Pritchard, Chief Operating Officer, have advised NHS Trusts to risk assess their staff, particularly black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups, as to their vulnerability to contracting Covid-19. They have called on employers to take “precautionary measures” to protect all staff that are at a higher risk of severe disease. In addition to this, a review being led by Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health Director for London, on behalf of Public Health England is underway to better understand how different factors such as ethnicity, deprivation, age, gender and obesity could impact on how people are affected by COVID-19.
We will continue to follow and respond to developments as appropriate and as they arise.
The mental health and wellbeing of our members and profession is a high priority for the College, we hope that you will have seen evidence of this from our recent social media campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week in May. We also have a ‘Your Mental Health’ page on the College website, which includes, among many other resources, a series of vlogs recorded by our friend Esther Murray, a Health Psychologist, specifically for those self-isolating or shielding during Covid-19, and a new series focusing on self-care.
The College of Paramedics Diversity Steering Group was formed to advise the College on equality, diversity and inclusion issues, and focuses on the five strands of BAME, LGBTQI+, disability, gender equality and socio-economic status, whilst working with universities and employers to increase diversity within the profession. The steering group is still young, but work is ongoing to develop a webpage that will provide links and resources for members. One of these resources will be a blog series from members who have an association with any of the five diversity strands above. Is this you? We would like to hear from members about experiences of diversity and working and living during the pandemic. We would like to know if you feel that we should be focusing on any specific aspects of Covid-19 and diversity? Please get in touch if you would like to write a blog and share your story, don’t worry if you have never written a blog before, we will work with you on it.
Additionally, we want to hear from you if you have something to share on other aspects of diversity; working in the profession as a minority, overcoming or still trying to overcome barriers, aspects of your diversity that you find strength in, instances of feeling excluded, instances of feeling included, or any other relevant lived experience.
It is important to us as we grow and develop further that we are representative of our profession and the public we care for, but we need your help and support to achieve this effectively. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you would like to contribute to this work.