The Health Equity Lead introduced the report. Dr Mamluk and Dr Jones from Bristol University also spoke to the report. Also present who spoke to the report were Cllr Craig, Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Bristol Race Equality Covid-19 Steering Group, and Dr Brooks, Sirona Health Care and Vice Chair of the Bristol Race Equality Covid-19 Steering Group.
· The Commission was advised that the report was based on national data and was published before the Public Health England report. There had also been local engagement which informed the report.
· It was agreed that the report was an important step forward; including the provision of mechanisms for understanding wards and local communities.
· The Commission noted that the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities was an important aspect of the findings of the Health Scrutiny Working Group.
· The Commission was advised that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities who were dispersed around the city could be better supported by Covid Marshalls and leaders within communities; that there was a need for positive messages from trusted voices, with an understanding that communities were not homogenous; flexibility and an understanding of difference was needed.
· The Deputy Mayor said that there were communication tools readily available to share with councillors who had access to networks and communities and could help communicate information.
· The report was commended and it was agreed it required wider dissemination. It was recommended that the report should be shared across the Council including other committees, across the organisation, and in the community via local networks.
· The Commission was advised that the Race Equality Covid-19 Steering Group had a set of policy recommendations with related actions and Councillors could engage with any appropriate actions.
· Members were told that although some aspects were driven by data and so could be easily measured, there were some aspects which were longer term which meant impacts might not be seen for a while. There had been evidence of impacts from local people and schools using qualitative data.
· The Deputy Mayor advised the Commission that there were daily ward figures which had been used to track impact of Covid-19; and that the next stage of work would be about vaccines and how uptake could be improved, including a need to overcome scepticism about it. There would a piece of work, including communication about the vaccine to diverse communities.
· The Commission heard that although there was national policy on NHS charging, some local people able to access health care were not due to communication issues. The Council would bid for funding to research how national policy on health care charging could be implemented locally; this was an area of important focus to ensure equitable access to health care.
· The Deputy Lord Mayor commended the work of the Health Equity Lead and Drs Brooks, Jones and Mamluk; and stated that Covid had exposed racial disparities; that the report was evidence based; and that although uncomfortable, it should be embraced.
· The Deputy Mayor commended the work of the Community Cohesion and Equalities Officer, who had driven the work of the Race Equality Covid-19 Steering Group.
· The Commission was advised that the challenge now would be to encourage and provide information so people could make informed decisions; particularly for the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities there had been misinformation and mistrust. It was important to build public confidence by the provision of good robust clear information.
· The Chair commended the report; that it was positive to hear about practical actions which tackled issues such as social distancing in lifts and how to deal with laundry areas.
· The Chair stated that the report was important in that it captured early information that could be learnt from and built upon; this was the approach taken by the People Scrutiny Working Group which looked at, early on, the effect of Covid-19 on safeguarding children and young people, and which could be learnt from now. This approach with this rapid review meant that, as we moved to vaccination programme, we now had a great body of evidence to learn and build from.
That a copy of the Health Scrutiny Working Group final report be sent to the Health Equity Lead and the Race Equality Covid-19 Steering Group for information.