As a responsible employer, our prime concern is for the health and safety of our staff. So, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and government guidance, the CCG immediately closed its main workplace and provided facilities so all staff could work from home. NHS England and NHS Employers subsequently asked all NHS organisations to conduct individual risk assessments on all staff. Their initial focus was on our BAME colleagues (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) and so we worked closely with the CCG’s BAME network to develop the CCG’s risk assessment in line with central guidance.
The BAME network also recommended that, although there were significant concerns within the BAME community, this was not the only vulnerable group; with similar concerns about the impact of age, gender, underlying health concerns and obesity, amongst others. We therefore asked our line managers to conduct a risk assessment on all staff.
The current position is as follows:
- All NHS Leeds CCG staff have been invited to complete a risk assessment. That includes any staff currently contracted or seconded to us from other organisations.
- Of the 395 staff currently in post, a total of 367 assessments were completed (93%) with the remaining 28 unreported due to long term absence, maternity leave and those whose primary work is elsewhere within the NHS.
- From this total, 121 assessments identified staff within the ‘at-risk’ group* as defined below (33%). Mitigating steps have been agreed where necessary to protect these staff, including homeworking and avoiding direct patient contact.
- Of the 62 BAME colleagues (as identified by self-identification on our ESR staff records), 55 assessments have been completed (89%). Again, the 7 unreported staff are currently either on long term absence or maternity leave.
- We have agreed to conduct further risk assessments as circumstances change and, in particular, prior to any return from homeworking to the workplace.
* Definition of ‘At Risk’ Group
It is important that the data capture is consistent and in line with the request, therefore all ‘at risk’ staff have been identified as:
- Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff (BAME), aged 55+, particularly those with co-morbidities
- White European ethnicity aged 60+
- Underlying health conditions (Hypertension, CVD, DM, CKD, COPD, Obesity)
- All BAME staff