Featured research: UK-REACH

The United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH) is being undertaken to understand if, how, and why, ethnicity affects COVID-19 clinical outcomes in healthcare workers (HCWs).

The study will also investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the physical and mental health of HCWs, primarily those from an ethnic minority background.

Why have I been invited to take part?

You have been invited to take part because we want to hear from people of all ethnicities working in health and social care during COVID-19. You do not need to have had COVID-19 to join the study. 

We are especially keen to hear from people from ethnic minorities to understand why and how some groups have been particularly affected by the pandemic and their experiences of working in health care settings through this pandemic. We are inviting people from all job roles to participate in this study. You do not need to look after patients directly to join the study.

What will taking part involve?

We are inviting health and social care workers to participate in Work Package 2 and/or Work Package 4 of our study:

  • Work Package 2: We will establish a national longitudinal cohort of ethnic minority (with White ethnic group as comparator) HCWs and ancillary staff working in healthcare settings and assess changes in their health outcomes, social circumstances and professional roles over the course of forthcoming pandemic waves and beyond.
  • Work Package 4: We will undertake qualitative interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) with ethnic minority HCWs to understand risk perceptions, support and coping mechanisms in relation to COVID-19.

You could be part of the cohort study in Work Package 2 which entails filling an online questionnaire, and you could also participate in a qualitative interview or group discussion in Work package 4. Alternately, you could choose only to participate in either one of the work packages.

If you are a key staff opinion leader working in a health care organisation (e.g. GMC, Royal Colleges), we also invite you to participate in the in-depth interviews held under Work package 3:

  • Work Package 3: We will undertake research to understand and address legal, ethical and acceptability issues around data protection, privacy and information governance associated with the linkage of professionals' registration data and healthcare data.

Participation in the study is voluntary. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part you will be asked to sign a consent form. However, agreeing to participate does not oblige you to remain in the study and you may withdraw from the study at any time and without giving a reason.

How will the study results help protect minority ethnic groups?

We believe our work will be of direct relevance to policy-makers and professional organisations, providing evidence to inform responses to the current/future COVID-19 pandemic waves, as well as a framework within which we are able to investigate longer-term clinical outcomes on physical and mental health.

Our research is designed to identify key risk factors that may contribute to elevated morbidity and mortality in ethnic minority staff in healthcare settings as well as increased knowledge about access to support and key coping mechanisms to protect the mental and physical health of staff working in these settings. These will, in turn, inform a set of recommendations for protection of ethnic minority healthcare workers from COVID-19 related morbidity and mortality.

You can find out more about the study on the UK-REACH website, including FAQs, or contact the lead research team at uk-reach@leicester.ac.uk.