Ethnicity and COVID-19 outcomes among healthcare workers in the UK: UK-REACH ethico-legal research, qualitative research on healthcare workers' experiences and stakeholder engagement protocol

Mayuri Gogoi, Ruby Reed-Berendt, Amani Al-Oraibi, Osama Hassan, Fatimah Wobi, Amit Gupta, Ibrahim Abubakar, Edward Dove, Laura B. Nellums, Manish Pareek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging evidence suggests that individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds may be disproportionately affected. The United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH) project has been initiated to generate rapid evidence on whether and why ethnicity affects COVID-19 diagnosis and clinical outcomes in healthcare workers (HCWs) in the UK, through five interlinked work packages/work streams, three of which form the basis of this protocol. The ethico-legal work (Work Package 3) aims to understand and address legal, ethical and acceptability issues around big data research; the HCWs' experiences study (Work Package 4) explores their work and personal experiences, perceptions of risk, support and coping mechanisms; the stakeholder engagement work (Work Package 5) aims to provide feedback and support with the formulation and dissemination of the project recommendations. Methods and analysis Work Package 3 has two different research strands: (A) desk-based doctrinal research; and (B) empirical qualitative research with key opinion leaders. For the empirical research, in-depth interviews will be conducted digitally and recorded with participants' permission. Recordings will be transcribed, coded and analysed using thematic analysis. In Work Package 4, online in-depth interviews and focus groups will be conducted with approximately 150 HCWs, from across the UK, and these will be recorded with participants' consent. The recordings will be transcribed and coded and data will be analysed using thematic analysis. Work Package 5 will achieve its objectives through regular group meetings and in-group discussions. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval has been received from the London-Brighton & Sussex Research Ethics Committee of the Health Research Authority (Ref No 20/HRA/4718). Results of the study will be published in open-access journals, and disseminated through conference presentations, project website, stakeholder organisations, media and scientific advisory groups. Trial registration number ISRCTN11811602.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere049611
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding UK-REACH is supported by a grant (MR/V027549/1) from the MRC-UK Research and Innovation and the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) rapid response panel to tackle COVID-19. Core funding was also provided by NIHR Biomedical Research Centres. MP is funded by an NIHR Development and Skills Enhancement Award and also acknowledges support from the NIHR Leicester BRC and NIHR ARC East Midlands. LBN is supported by the Academy of Medical Sciences (SBF005/1047). This work is carried out with the support of BREATHE—the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health (MC_PC_19004) funded through the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and delivered through Health Data Research UK. Disclaimer The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Health Service (NHS), the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. Competing interests MP reports grants and personal fees from Gilead Sciences and personal fees from QIAGEN, outside the submitted work. IA reports personal fees from House of Lords, grants from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and grants from NIHR, outside the submitted work.

Publisher Copyright:


  • COVID-19
  • medical ethics
  • medical law
  • qualitative research


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