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Diabetes professor publishes COVID-19 Risk Reduction Framework document

By Editor
13th May 2020
Coronavirus, Type 2 diabetes

A leading type 2 diabetes professor has developed a Risk Reduction Framework for NHS staff who may be at risk of COVID-19.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, led an expert working group which led to the publication of the document.

Collectively they looked at age, gender and ethnicity of those who have died from COVID-19 among the main health and social care staff groups.

Employers are reminded they have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and must apply an “equitable approach to effective risk management and risk reduction of potential workplace hazards, for all staff regardless of ethnicity and diversity”.

The framework complements existing guidance and takes into account emerging evidence that co-morbidities, combined with ethnicity, may be associated with increased vulnerability to COVID-19. The framework assumes that community exposure is lower than in hospital settings, but this may not be the case, for example if PPE is incorrectly used.

  • When carrying out individual assessments on staff members, the authors said four factors must be considered which are:
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Ethnicity
  • Pregnancy

The consensus document was developed as a result of robust discussion amongst a wide range of experts in this field, who are all hoping to better protect the NHS workforce and maximise their ability to deal with current pressures.

The authors said that Trusts will need specialist occupational health support and advice to apply the guidance fairly.

This is the first attempt to create such a Risk Reduction Framework with currently available evidence and it will be reviewed and updated in light of any new evidence.

The authors concluded: “There is an urgent need for a greater level of understanding as to why workers, and indeed patients including those from a BAME background, appear to have a disproportionately increased morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 infection.

“A significant research and audit programme is also currently underway. This is the first attempt to create such a Risk Reduction Framework with currently available evidence and the Tool will be reviewed and updated in light of any evidence. It is however important to acknowledge is this area is continuously evolving and this framework provides a baseline but remains fluid.”

To read the document in full, click here.

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