Association between ethnicity and migration status with the prevalence of single and multiple long-term conditions in UK healthcare workers

Winifred Ekezie, Christopher a. Martin, Rebecca f. Baggaley, Lucy Teece, Joshua Nazareth, Daniel Pan, Shirley Sze, Luke Bryant, Katherine Woolf, Laura j. Gray, Kamlesh Khunti, Manish Pareek, Laura Nellums, Anna l. Guyatt, Catherine John, I chris Mcmanus, Ibrahim Abubakar, Amit Gupta, Keith r. Abrams, Martin d. TobinLouise Wain, Sue Carr, Edward Dove, David Ford, Robert Free

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers' (HCW) well-being has a direct effect on patient care. However, little is known about the prevalence and patterns of long-term medical conditions in HCWs, especially those from ethnic minorities. This study evaluated the burden of multiple long-term conditions (MLTCs), i.e. the presence of two or more single long-term conditions (LTCs), among HCWs in the United Kingdom (UK) and variation by ethnicity and migration status.

METHODS: We used baseline data from the UK-REACH cohort study collected December 2020-March 2021. We used multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for demographic, occupational and lifestyle factors to examine the relationship between self-reported LTCs/MLTCs and ethnicity, migration status and time since migration to the UK.

RESULTS: Of 12,100 included HCWs, with a median age of 45 years (IQR: 34-54), 27% were overseas-born, and 30% were from non-White ethnic groups (19% Asian, 4% Black, 4% Mixed, 2% Other). The most common self-reported LTCs were anxiety (14.9%), asthma (12.2%), depression (10.7%), hypertension (8.7%) and diabetes (4.0%). Mental health conditions were more prevalent among UK-born than overseas-born HCWs for all ethnic groups (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) using White UK-born as the reference group each time: White overseas-born 0.77, 95%CI 0.66-0.95 for anxiety). Diabetes and hypertension were more common among Asian (e.g. Asian overseas, diabetes aOR 2.97, 95%CI 2.30-3.83) and Black (e.g. Black UK-born, hypertension aOR 1.77, 95%CI 1.05-2.99) groups than White UK-born. After adjustment for age, sex and deprivation, the odds of reporting MLTCs were lower in most ethnic minority groups and lowest for those born overseas, compared to White UK-born (e.g. White overseas-born, aOR 0.68, 95%CI 0.55-0.83; Asian overseas-born aOR 0.75, 95%CI 0.62-0.90; Black overseas-born aOR 0.52, 95%CI 0.36-0.74). The odds of MLTCs in overseas-born HCWs were equivalent to the UK-born population in those who had settled in the UK for ≥ 20 years (aOR 1.14, 95%CI 0.94-1.37).

CONCLUSIONS: Among UK HCWs, the prevalence of common LTCs and odds of reporting MLTCs varied by ethnicity and migrant status. The lower odds of MLTCs in migrant HCWs reverted to the odds of MLTCs in UK-born HCWs over time. Further research on this population should include longitudinal studies with linkage to healthcare records. Interventions should be co-developed with HCWs from different ethnic and migrant groups focussed upon patterns of conditions prevalent in specific HCW subgroups to reduce the overall burden of LTCs/MLTCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number433
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


  • Comorbidity
  • Ethnic minorities
  • Healthcare workers
  • Migrants
  • Morbidity
  • Multimorbidity
  • Multiple chronic conditions
  • United Kingdom


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