The NHS, COVID-19 and Lockdown: The Black, Asian, Minoritised Ethnic and Refugee Experience in Brighton and Hove

In July 2020, TDC and five partners: Sussex Interpreting Services, Hangleton & Knoll Project, Voices in Exile, Network of International Women and Fresh Youth Perspectives, surveyed 310 people from Black, Asian, Minoritised Ethnic, Refugee and Migrant communities in Brighton and Hove to find out about their experiences of the NHS, Covid-19 and lockdown.

Dr Anusree Biswas Sasidharan led the research which was funded by Sussex NHS Commissioners.

You can read the full report here: The NHS, COVID-19 and Lockdown: The Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Refugee Experience in Brighton and Hove

And you can find a summary of the report here.

  • 13% of respondents had had a positive covid-19 test
  • 21% of Black, Asian, Minoritised Ethnic and Refugee key workers in this research felt they were expected to take more risk compared to white colleagues
  • Only 5% of respondents were uncertain about symptoms
  • There were high levels of trust for the NHS (70%) although many had negative experiences (49%)
  • Negative experiences included communication and language difficulties, cancellation of appointments often leading to poor health outcomes and perception of discriminatory treatment
  • Lack of knowledge and information was more likely for those with language needs

Recommendations from the report to NHS Sussex Commissioners are:

  1. Support employers to implement Equality Assessment Frameworks
  2. Provide clear, local information, in different languages
  3. Conduct Equality Impact Assessments on access to healthcare
  4. Fund and sustain approaches to tackling racial inequality
  5. Build closer, collaborative relationships with Black, Asian, Minoritised Ethnic and Refugee communities
  6. Promote health education in partnership with Black, Asian, Minoritised Ethnic and Refugee communities
  7. Conduct more analysis of survey data

For more information about the research please contact Kaye Duerdoth, Director of Equalities and Terry Adams, Community Development Worker on [email protected]. Available soon - plain English report summary along with translated versions. 

Our findings resonate closely with the recent review by Baroness Doreen Lawrence: "AN AVOIDABLE CRISIS. The disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities". You can read the review here

The most powerful aspects of this research are the voices of Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic people and Refugees (BAMER) in Brighton and Hove, from 56 different self-defined ethnicities. There is much diversity within the BAMER groups and individuals; making broad assumptions under ‘BAMER’ would perhaps not do justice to the range of voices found in this report. 

This report broaches the difficult issues of structural inequalities that are exposed and exacerbated under the COVID-19 pandemic conditions in the health (including mental health) and working lives of BAMER people.  

I hope this report contributes to understanding of BAMER communities and individuals in the city to look at how disproportionate and negative outcomes are a result of unfavourable working conditions, racism and other structural inequalities. 

Dr Anusree Biswas Sasidharan, author

In total, three reports were commissioned by Sussex NHS:

  • Brighton and Hove (Trust for Developing Communities and Partners)
  • Crawley (Citizens Advice Bureau) 
  • Hastings (Hastings Voluntary Action)


They are each being reviewed by the Sussex Health and Care Partnership (SHCP) Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Disparity Programme and will result in a list of short- and long-term actions to form part of the legacy of the programme.

These recommendations have also been reviewed by an oversight group consisting of Local Authorities, Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations, an interpreting service organisation and Clinical Commissioning Group staff.

All three reports are now available to view and download on the Sussex Health & Care Partnership website →

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