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The novel coronavirus pandemic is posing significant challenges to healthcare workers (HCWs) in adjusting to redeployed clinical settings and enhanced risk to their own health. Studies suggest a variable impact of COVID-19 based on factors such as age, gender, comorbidities and ethnicity. Workplace measures such as personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing (SD) and avoidance of exposure for the vulnerable, mitigate this risk. This online questionnaire-based study explored the impact of gender and religion in addition to workplace measures associated with risk of COVID-19 in hospital doctors in acute and mental health institutions in the UK.
The survey had 1206 responses, majority (94%) from BAME backgrounds. A quarter of the respondents had either confirmed or suspected COVID-19, a similar proportion reported inadequate PPE and 2/3 could not comply with SD. One third reported being reprimanded in relation to PPE or avoidance of risk. In univariate analysis, age over 50 years, being female, Muslim and inability to avoid exposure in the workplace was associated with risk of COVID-19. On multivariate analysis, inadequate PPE remained an independent predictor with a twofold (OR 2.29, (CI - 1.22-4.33), p=0.01) risk of COVID-19.
This study demonstrates that PPE, SD and workplace measures to mitigate risk remain important for reducing the risk of COVID-19 in hospital doctors. Gender and religion did not appear to be independent determinants. It is imperative that employers consolidate risk reduction measures and foster a culture of safety to encourage employees to voice any safety concerns.
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