Shadow care minister estimates "over 5000 deaths" in care homes

28 April 2020, 19:08

By Fiona Jones

Shadow social care minister estimated there have been "over 5000 deaths" in care homes and warned care home deaths have not yet reached their peak.

Care homes deaths have contributed to a third of all Covid deaths in England and Wales in the last two weeks, official figures showed today.

According to the Office for National Statistics there have been 3,096 care home deaths overall and with 2,000 in the week ending 17 April, double the previous week.

However the shadow social care minister told LBC that there could be actually be "over 5000 deaths" as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported a total of 4,343 deaths of residents in homes between April 10 and 24 in England.

Minister Liz Kendall said while we have hopefully reached the peak of coronavirus in hospital, "we haven't yet reached the peak of those deaths in care homes" and called for "further steps to get to grips with the vicious spread of the virus in care homes."

Shelagh asked to which degree care home deaths were contributed to by patients from hospital being returned to care homes or sent there for the first time without adequate testing.

"The guidance was changed on 18 April to say anybody discharged from hospital, prior to admission to a care home, should be tested and if they're found positive, should be effectively isolated," Ms Kendall said, stressing that there should be an intermediate care service for those elderly people who must be isolated.

"We know that care homes have very frail, vulnerable elderly people and there're also over 430,000 disabled people in care homes. We could see from what was happening in Spain and Italy how quickly the virus spreads.

"Serious questions will be asked of the government," she said.