Official launch of first ever Leeds primary care BAME network

Two days after the NHS celebrates its 72nd birthday, another symbolic event takes place as the first ever Leeds network for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) launches for staff working in primary care at 6.30pm on Tuesday 7 July.

With research* showing that people and healthcare workers from BAME backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus, the network has been established to help tackle the inequalities affecting the NHS workforce as well as the communities it serves.

People joining the virtual event will hear from Dr Nikita Kanani, Medical Director for NHS England. Medical Director for NHS England. Others speaking at the event include Tim Ryley, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Jim Barwick, Chief Executive for Leeds GP Confederation and Thea Stein, Chief Executive for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust.

Welcoming people to the launch will be Dr Mohammed Sattar, GP at Woodhouse Medical Practice, who has spearheaded the setting up of a BAME network for people working in primary care. The network will look to encourage other primary care colleagues to join including those working in the city’s 94 GP practices as well as community pharmacies, optometry (eye health) and dentistry.

Dr Mohammed Sattar said: “Primary care services provide the first point of contact in the healthcare system, often acting as the ‘front door’ of the NHS. Primary care includes general practice, community pharmacy, dental, and optometry (eye health) services. Our network has been set up to tackle the health and wider social inequalities that affect BAME staff and communities. Working in primary care we get to see first-hand how inequalities can lead to issues affecting a person’s health and wellbeing. These inequalities have become more apparent as COVID-19 took hold in the UK and has highlighted that we need to do much more to help the most disadvantaged people in the city.

“In June, Public Health England released a report that indicated that racism and social inequality contributed to increased risks of Black, Asian and minority communities catching and dying from Covid-19  I’m a passionate believer that if we get this right for BAME communities, other sections of society will also benefit. Now is the time for action.”

Tim Ryley, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds CCG, added: “As the organisation responsible for commissioning and funding health services for the city, we have a duty to get this right so that no one is disadvantaged on the basis of race or any other factors that can contribute to health inequalities. For the large majority of people accessing the NHS, primary care is often your front door into services. This means that the primary care BAME network will give us unique insights into staff and patient experiences which we can then use to narrow the inequalities gap.”

Jim Barwick, Chief Executive for Leeds GP Confederation commented: “We’re incredibly proud to be supporting Dr Sattar and his colleagues to establish the first ever primary care BAME network in Leeds. It’s a real coup for the city to welcome Dr Nikita Kanani to the official launch event and demonstrates that our work is ground-breaking, we hope that we can inspire other similar networks nationally. I look forward to seeing the network develop.”

Thea Stein, Chief Executive for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Our organisation has a vibrant BAME staff network that has contributed to the work we do and has helped us make changes to the way we help our patients as well as our staff. I’m really pleased that the Chair of our BAME network has been working closely with Dr Sattar, So primary care and community staff who work in such close partnership, can continue to change, learn and develop together.”

The launch of the event will take place on Tuesday 7 July from 6.30pm until 8pm. Due to current restrictions on public gatherings, and in line with the NHS in Leeds’s social distancing measures, the event will be hosted online.

Anyone wanting to join the Leeds primary care network can email [email protected], instructions on joining the event will be sent to those registering their interest.


Notes to Editors

* Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups (Public Health England, June 2020) highlights “that there is an association between belonging to some ethnic groups and the likelihood of testing positive and dying with COVID-19. Genetics were not included in the scope of the review. This review found that the highest age standardised diagnosis rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 population were in people of Black ethnic groups (486 in females and 649 in males) and the lowest were in people of White ethnic groups (220 in females and 224 in males).”

The full report can be accessed here: