Sajid Javid ordered an immediate review of racial bias in medical equipment, amid growing concern among experts about the fact that Covid-19 can make ethnic minorities four times more likely death.

51-year-old Health Secretary plans to join American counterparts in Joe Biden’s administration to bring new standards to health around the world.

The new measures will ensure that medical devices are tested equally by all races prior to being widely distributed and used.

After research that showed that oximeters (which are used to measure oxygen levels in blood) are inaccurate on people with darker skin, Mr Javid would like to start his review. 

Writing in The Sunday Times, Mr Javid warned of ‘bias, however inadvertent,’ creeping into medical procedure and said he planned to bring a ‘fresh perspective’.

He argued: ‘Although we’ve come together as a nation to fight this virus, the pandemic has shown that in many areas we’re far apart. 

“At last winter’s peak of Covid, Black, Asian, and Other Minority Ethnic Groups accounted for 28 percent of all critical-care admissions to England. This is more than twice their total population.

‘It is easy to look at a machine and assume that everyone’s getting the same experience. However, technology is developed and created by people. Therefore, bias, no matter how inadvertent it may be, could also cause problems. 

“I’m determined to eliminate these discriminations wherever I can.” 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, 51, plans to work alongside American counterparts within Joe Biden's administration to deliver new health standards across the globe

Sajid Javid (Health Secretary), 51, will work with American counterparts in Joe Biden’s administration to bring new standards to global health.

New measures set to be introduced will focus on ensuring medical devices, such as the oximeter (pictured) have been tested equally across all races before they are widely sold and used

The new measures will ensure that medical devices such as the Oximeter (pictured), are tested equally by all races prior to being widely used and sold.

Javid stated that he had ordered an independent review of oximeters in order to establish if there was an under-reported’systematic bias.

Javid praised the British new medical regulations, which could be in force following Brexit. He also pointed out other examples he would like to see, such as MRI scanners becoming easier to access for women who are pregnant.

Britain’s Health secretary said he was willing to work with Joe Biden’s chief of health in the United States, Xavier Becerra. This would allow for new strategies that could shape the future of medicine around the world.

His point was summarized by Mr Javid: “Because the gift of health is one of the most precious gifts you can give to anyone.” I’ll make it my mission to close the chasms that the pandemic has exposed, to make us not just a healthier country, but a fairer one too.’

The March call for urgent investigations into use of pulseoximeters by minority ethnic groups was supported both by the Medicines and Healthcare product regulatory agency and the NHS.

Public Health England data revealed that BAME people were at an increased risk of getting the virus and in some cases, up to four times more than those from England. This was according to The Lancet.

Public Health England data showed BAME groups were at a disproportionate risk of catching and dying from the virus, in some cases two to four times higher compared to England's white population, according to The Lancet

Public Health England data revealed that BAME populations were at greater risk than the white population of contracting and dying from the disease, sometimes two- to four times more so, according to The Lancet

Following the shock at the vastly different life expectancies throughout England, Javid presented plans for the opening of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.

And in October, Mr Javid told the Standard of the widening disparity between life expectancy in London boroughs: ‘It’s deeply concerning.

For example, when it comes to the health outcomes of life, you can see that there are significant differences between England’s different regions. Blackpool generally has a much lower life expectancy than London.

“But, even in the same areas, as in our great city of Westminster, Barking, Dagenham, and Westminster… and you’re losing your life expectancy quickly.

‘That is something that has been around for many years and it’s one of the key reasons that I want a much bigger focus on these health disparities and improvement of them.

‘It’s not going to happen overnight, people understand that, but it’s why I have set up the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.’

In March, the NHS and the Medicines and Healthcare products regulatory agency both backed calls for an urgent investigation into the use of pulse oximeters (above) in ethnic minority groups

The March call for urgent investigations into use of pulse-oximeters in minority ethnic groups was supported by both the Medicines and Healthcare Products regulatory agency and the NHS.

Experts think BAME Brits will catch Covid more often because they are in poorer areas and use public transport. They also work in public jobs, live in multi-generational households, and have overcrowded homes.

A January survey of nearly 1,800 London hospital patients found that the chance of becoming critically ill or needing to be ventilated was 88% higher in black Brits than in whites. Asian patients were at 54% greater risk. 

Dr. Yize Wan, Queen Mary’s clinical lecturer, and co-author, stated: “Our study shows that Covid-19 has adisproportionate effect on Black and Asian populations in the first peak.

Barts Health patients with Covid-19 who were black or Asian had significantly less years of life, suffered from more acute illnesses, and died earlier than those in the baseline and same-age whites.

“As COVID-19’s impact continues to be felt in our community, it is vital to address the unmasked ethnic differences during the COVID-19 epidemic. This will prevent them from being ensconced and inflicting further damage on the future generations.