The health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff has been prioritised among a taskforce of leading healthcare professionals.

Led by a top type 2 diabetes professor, together the team has developed a Risk Reduction Framework for medical workers who may be at risk of COVID-19.

The document, drafted by Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, is to help employers and managers ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees during the pandemic.

The expert working group took into account the age, gender and ethnicity of those who have died from COVID-19 among healthcare teams and have used the data to put together the guidance which focuses on risk management and reduction.

They also used existing research to complete the document, which will be continually updated as new information about COVID-19 becomes available.

To date, more than 170 frontline healthcare staff have died during the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising death toll comes amid criticism over the lack of essential protective equipment that have been available for frontline staff.

In addition, the amount of COVID-19 related deaths have been “disproportionately” higher among the black and minority ethnic (BAME) healthcare workers, but no one knows why.

The authors of the framework have said there is an “urgent need” to better understand why BAME workers are either dying or becoming extremely unwell from coronavirus.

They said: “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.”

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