Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Specialist palliative care services response to ethnic minority groups with COVID-19: equal but inequitable—an observational study

Bajwah, Sabrina; Koffman, Jonathan; Hussain, Jamilla; Bradshaw, Andy; Hocaoglu, Mevhibe B; Fraser, Lorna K; Oluyase, Adejoke; Allwin, Caitlin; Dunleavy, Lesley; Preston, Nancy; Cripps, Rachel; Maddocks, Matthew; Sleeman, Katherine E; Higginson, Irene J; Walshe, Catherine; Murtagh, Fliss E M


Sabrina Bajwah

Jonathan Koffman

Jamilla Hussain

Andy Bradshaw

Mevhibe B Hocaoglu

Lorna K Fraser

Adejoke Oluyase

Caitlin Allwin

Lesley Dunleavy

Nancy Preston

Rachel Cripps

Matthew Maddocks

Katherine E Sleeman

Irene J Higginson

Catherine Walshe


Objectives: To develop insights into response of palliative care services caring for people from ethnic minority groups during COVID-19.
Methods: Cross-sectional online survey of UK palliative care services response to COVID-19. Quantitative data were summarised descriptively and χ2 tests used to explore relationships between categorical variables. Free text comments were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.
Results: 277 UK services responded. 168 included hospice teams (76% of all UK hospice teams). Services supporting those from ethnic minority groups were more likely to include hospital (p<0.001) or home care teams (p=0.008). 34% (93/277) of services had cared for patients with COVID-19 or families from ethnic minority groups. 66% (61/93) of these services stated no difference in how they supported or reached these groups during the pandemic.
Three themes demonstrated impact of policy introduced during the pandemic, including: disproportionate adverse impact of restricted visiting, compounded communication challenges and unmet religious and faith needs. One theme demonstrated mistrust of services by ethnic minority groups, and the final theme demonstrated a focus on equal and individualised care.
Conclusions: Policies introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic may have adversely impacted those from ethnic minority groups making these at-risk populations even more vulnerable. The palliative care response may have been equal but inequitable. During the para-COVID-19 period, systemic steps, including equality impact assessments, are urgently needed.


Bajwah, S., Koffman, J., Hussain, J., Bradshaw, A., Hocaoglu, M. B., Fraser, L. K., …Murtagh, F. E. M. (2021). Specialist palliative care services response to ethnic minority groups with COVID-19: equal but inequitable—an observational study. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, bmjspcare-2021-003083.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 17, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 12, 2021
Publication Date Sep 12, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 3, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 3, 2021
Journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care
Print ISSN 2045-435X
Electronic ISSN 2045-4368
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages bmjspcare-2021-003083
Keywords Medical–Surgical; Oncology(nursing); General Medicine; Medicine (miscellaneous)
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations