New research has suggested that care homes in London and North East have been worst hit by COVID-19, as the official number of deaths rises to 11,650.
Figures published by the Health Foundation yesterday (26 May) have revealed a wide variation in the number of deaths among care home residents.
According to the think tank, the South East has seen 2,109 coronavirus-related deaths among care home deaths, making it the worst-affected region.
But if the figures are adjusted to take into account the number of care home beds within each region, then a different picture emerges.
The analysis shows London and the North East have the highest number of deaths per care home bed – 4.68 and 3.16 deaths per 100 beds, respectively.
While the comparable figure for the South East is 2.47 deaths per 100 beds.
The analysis comes as the Office for National Statistics publishes its latest set of statistics, which show that there have been 11,650 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes up to the week ending 15 May.
Yesterday also saw the publication of new figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which go up to the week ending 22 May.
According to the CQC figures, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in care homes dropped from 1,390 in the week ending 15 May to 870 in the week of 22 May.
The CQC figures show a total of 10,530 coronavirus-related deaths since the week ending 17 April.
‘While the number of weekly deaths in care homes appears to be falling, excess deaths are still significantly above the five-year average – and national figures mask differences in deaths between regions and population groups,’ said the Health Foundation’s chief executive, Dr Jennifer Dixon.
‘Government action on social care during the pandemic so far has been slow – the ‘action plan’ for social care was published nearly a month after the lockdown was introduced,’ added Dr Dixon.
‘Protecting vulnerable people needing social care should be given more obvious priority. Targeted action to tackle local outbreaks in care homes must include effective testing and tracing and ensuring consistent supplies of PPE to prevent a further spike in avoidable deaths.’
The assistant general secretary of the trade union Unison, Christina McAnea said it was ‘shameful that hundreds of people in care homes are still dying of Covid-19 every week’.
‘Many staff still don’t have the safety kit or tests they need. Government claims of a protective ring being placed around care homes ring rather hollow,’ she added.
‘The care sector needs to be completely overhauled once the crisis has passed. Never again should the concerns of staff, unions and employers be ignored.’
Photo Credit – Pixabay