Public Health England is being urged to stop Trevor Phillips from participating in a review into the disproportionate number of BAME people who have died after contracting COVID-19, according to a letter seen by Sky News.
The joint letter was sent by 16 BAME medical organisations that represent tens of thousands of medics in the UK.
It comes after Mr Phillips was appointed to the Public Health England review into coronavirus deaths.
The former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission is currently suspended from the Labour Party and under investigation.
Mr Phillips has been accused of making Islamophobic comments, and he has also criticised Labour’s handling of antisemitism within the party.
One doctor has told Sky News the decision to appoint Mr Phillips was “totally outrageous”.
The letter, which has also been sent to health secretary Matt Hancock, has been described as an “unprecedented” move by the chair of one of the groups.
It says: “The participation of BAME communities will be integral to the review.
“We urge Public Health England to ensure a thorough and credible review is conducted, to publish the terms of reference without delay and to withdraw the participation of Mr Phillips.
“A suitable candidate who would be trusted by healthcare professionals from a BAME background must be sought.”
Representatives from the British Islamic Medical Association, British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, British Somali Medical Association and Syrian British Medical Association are among the 16 signatories of the letter.
Professor Kevin Fenton, PHE’s regional director in London, said: “Trevor Phillips and Professor Richard Webber have been asked to support this critical work as their specialist consultancy has the right skills and experience. We need to move fast to understand why and what can be done about this.”
Sky News has been told that Trevor Phillips will not be making a comment.