There are 178,000 reasons why we need a comprehensive Covid inquiry that leaves no stone unturned and no community left behind. We need to understand what has happened and more importantly, exactly why it has happened, so that we can stop it from happening again. From the disproportionate numbers of black and brown NHS workers dying to the surge in Black youth unemployment and the death of Belly Mujinga, the pandemic has shown that racism in our country is still a matter of life and death.
I’ve been working closely with the Federation of Ethnic Minority Healthcare Organisations (FEMHO) to ensure race is put front and centre of the Covid Inquiry.
In June 2022, I co-ordinated a cross-party letter on behalf of the FEMHO calling on the Government to include the unequal impact of the pandemic on minoritised communities in their Covid inquiry terms of reference and hear evidence from FEMHO. This was signed by 39 Labour, Green, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru and Scottish National Party MPs. I’m pleased that Downing Street has now accepted our recommendations.
In July 2022, I also hosted FEMHO’s inaugural meeting in Parliament where experts talked about poor outcomes for ethnic minority healthcare workers and discussed legal aspects of the inquiry. Any meaningful Covid inquiry must put these racial disparities front and centre and set out an action plan to address them.