UK Sudanese healthcare workers’ wellbeing amid COVID-19 Pandemic: A survey report, June 2020


18 Jun

Download report UK Sudan HCW report final.pdf


In this survey of 223 participants (mostly doctors), we uncovered a number of concerns regarding work pattern change and risk assessment for UK Sudanese healthcare workers (HCWs) as well as significant impacts of COVID-19 on their physical and psychological well-being. Practical recommendations to support our members and other UK Sudanese HCWs are also discussed.

The summary of the report is attached below

The full report can be viewed on our website on the following link: UK Sudan HCW report final.pdf

We are grateful to all of the survey respondents for their time and participation

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Executive summary/Abstract

Healthcare workers (HCWs) from Black and minor ethnicity (BAME) backgrounds have been shown to be at increased risk of death from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Two Sudanese doctors and one London NHS transport worker were among the first HCWs to die of COVID-19 in the UK. The Sudan Doctors’ Union-UK branch (SDU-UK) aimed to explore the well-being of Sudanese healthcare workers in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, to define the physical, psychological, and social challenges these individuals are facing, and to identify potential methods of providing support.

A questionnaire was created online and distributed to UK-based Sudanese HCWs practicing in the UK, between April 2020 and May 2020, using different social media platforms.

A total of 240 responses were received, of which 223 were deemed to be valid. The median age was 39 [interquartile range (IQR): 34–46], 55% were male, and almost all of the participants were doctors (97%). Responses were received from all regions of the UK, with the highest number of submissions received from the Midlands. Only a third received risk assessment in relation to COVID-19 and approximately 29% of those who appeared to have been redeployed or who had their rota pattern changed were dissatisfied with the new arrangements. A majority (62%) were working on the frontline, and a high proportion (55%) were exposed to COVID-19 cases frequently (i.e. most days of the week or more frequent). More than one-third reported undergoing self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms, and 22% reported concerns regarding their physical health, whereas 89% indicated a degree of stress or pressure at work associated with COVID-19. Moderate or extreme concerns regarding the higher rates of death among Sudanese and BAME HCWs were reported by 73% of respondents. 

Childcare difficulties, financial constraints, and the fear of infecting family members were among the major concerns raised by participants. Recommendations for the SDU-UK provided by survey participants included the provision of both psychological and social support, through regional representatives, promoting contact information or hotlines to provide mental health and wellbeing consultations and engaging in research to investigate the vulnerability of BAME HCWs to COVID-19. The SDU-UK should continue its advocacy role in collaboration with other BAME-representing bodies, to highlight any shortfalls in the BAME risk assessment process or the Immigration Health Surcharge exemption decisions. 

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