Introduction: COVID-19 has spread rapidly worldwide, causing significant morbidity and mortality. People from ethnic minorities, particularly those working in healthcare settings, have been disproportionately affected. Current evidence of the association between ethnicity and COVID-19 outcomes in people working in healthcare settings is insufficient to inform plans to address health inequalities.

Methods and analysis: This study combines anonymised human resource databases with professional registration and National Health Service data sets to assess associations between ethnicity and COVID-19 diagnosis, hospitalisation and death in healthcare workers in the UK. Adverse COVID-19 outcomes will be assessed between 1 February 2020 (date following first confirmed COVID-19 case in UK) and study end date (31 January 2021), allowing 1-year of follow-up. Planned analyses include multivariable Poisson, logistic and flexible parametric time-to-event regression within each country, adjusting for core predictors, followed by meta-analysis of country-specific results to produce combined effect estimates for the UK. Mediation analysis methods will be explored to examine the direct, indirect and mediated interactive effects between ethnicity, occupational group and COVID-19 outcomes.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval for the UK-REACH programme has been obtained via the expedited HRA COVID-19 processes (REC ref: 20/HRA/4718, IRAS ID: 288316). Research information will be anonymised via the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Databank before release to researchers. Study results will be submitted for publication in an open access peer-reviewed journal and made available on our dedicated website (https://uk-reach.org/).

Trial registration number: ISRCTN11811602.


This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Cite as

Teece, L., Gray, L., Melbourne, C., Orton, C., Ford, D., Martin, C., McAllister, D., Khunti, K., Tobin, M., John, C., Abrams, K. & Pareek, M. 2021, 'United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH): a retrospective cohort study using linked routinely collected data, study protocol', BMJ Open, 11(6), article no: e046392. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046392

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Last updated: 02 November 2023
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