The Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity to address wider health inequalities in north-west London, health officials have said.

Brent Council’s health and wellbeing board responded to a report on the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups in the borough.

According to Public Health England research, after socioeconomic circumstances are taken into account, black people are 1.9 times more likely to suffer coronavirus-related deaths than their white counterparts.

A similar situation arises among Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic communities – men from these groups are 1.8 times more likely to die from Covid-19-related issues compared to white men, while women are 1.6 times more likely when compared to white women.

The health board noted that statistics of this kind are “not new” and there should be more effort to protect those more vulnerable to illnesses.

This includes devising a better approach to how services manage long-term conditions that affect BAME communities more.

Dr Madhukar Patel, chairman of Brent Clinical Commissioning Group, noted that there is “always room for improvement” and that health officials will look to “close the gap” over the next 12 months.

He added that there will be a particular focus on diabetes, which is higher among BAME groups.

There will also be a focus on supporting those in poorer areas, where residents also suffer health inequalities and have also “borne the brunt” of Covid-19 cases.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, who is responsible for public health at Brent Council, said examining and acting on these statistics is also beneficial to the local authority and how it operates.

He said: “It’s helpful for us when it comes to pitching for resources, looking at where to put testing sites, and how we can support schools and care homes.

“Hopefully this might spur on some changes in long-term condition management.

“And we can use the experiences of the past six months to see how we can change residents’ lives for the better.”