Officials have admitted that the number of coronavirus-related deaths in care homes could be double the figures published earlier this week.
The figures published by the Office for National Statistics on 21 April showed that there were 1,043 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes up to the week ending 10 April.
But yesterday (22 April), the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) took the unusual step of issuing a joint statement in which they said the number of deaths in care homes relating to coronavirus between 11 and 15 April could be ‘double the number of care home deaths’ already reported by the ONS.
‘In common with the ONS, CQC’s preliminary analysis also indicates there may be a significant rise in non-COVID-19 deaths,’ the statement adds.
‘This is of particular concern and we will be exploring the factors that may be driving this with local authorities, adult social care trade associations, PHE, NHSE – to ensure timely action is taken to safeguard people.
‘This work will also inform the ONS’ longer-term research project on non-COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic.’
The statement adds that the CQC has now booked testing appointments for 12,500 care staff so far and are supporting DHSC in their working with PHE to urgently support the testing of care home residents.
Earlier this week, the National Care Forum claimed only 25% of eligible care home staff have been tested to date – those who have been identified as needing testing.
The Forum added that the situation is significantly worse for care providers supporting people in their own homes where only 6.8% of home care staff who have been identified as needing testing have actually had one.
And yesterday in parliament, foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who was standing in for prime minister Boris Johnson admitted he did not have the ‘precise figure’ for the number of care home staff, who have died from coronavirus.
‘It is more difficult to establish that number in relation to care home workers as opposed to care home residents,’ he told MPs.
‘I think that we can all agree in this House that every one of those is a tragedy, and that that can only make us double down on our efforts to tackle this virus and to do everything we can to support those amazing workers in the NHS who are delivering so much in taking the battle to the coronavirus.’
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